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Optical Engineer

Mid-Senior Level | Full-time
Engineering | livermore, CA | 06/14/2024

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Company Description

Join us and make YOUR mark on the World!

Are you interested in joining some of the brightest talent in the world to strengthen the United States’ security? Come join Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) where our employees apply their expertise to create solutions for BIG ideas that make our world a better place.

We are looking for individuals who demonstrate an understanding of working in partnership with team peers, who engage, advocate, and contribute to building an inclusive culture, and provide expertise to solve challenging problems.

Pay Range $159,330- $245,544 annually

$159,330- $204,636 annually for the SES.3 level

$191,220- $245,544 annually for the SES.4 level

Please note that the pay range information is a general guideline only. Many factors are taken into consideration when setting starting pay including education, experience, the external labor market, and internal equity.

Job Description

We have an opening for an experienced Optical Engineer. You will be responsible for optical systems design, modeling, analysis, and engineering for multiple challenges including high energetic laser systems, diagnostics, and high-fidelity optical systems. Your scope of work will involve parallel tasks including priorities that may not be well defined. This position is in the Optical Design and Engineering of Laser Systems Engineering and Operations (LSEO) division which isa part of the LLNL Engineering Directorate.

This position will be filled at either job classification level based on knowledge and related experience as assessed by the hiring team. Additional job responsibilities (outlined below) will be assigned if hired at the higher level.

In this role, you will

  • Design and model complex optical systems such as high energy lasers and diagnostics in CODE V at both lens and system level and utilize these models to inform decisions and tradeoffs.
  • Design, analyze, and document complex optical component and system specifications.
  • Perform non-sequential/Stray light modeling, analysis, and systematic mitigation using FRED.
  • Understand the system-level big picture, diagnose complex problems, and propose solutions while working independently, under minimal direction.
  • Perform tolerancing and analysis of optical systems and subsystems.
  • Define complex optical requirements from physics requirements.
  • Present and explain technical information to a multidisciplinary team of scientists, engineers, technicians, and designers.
  • Perform other duties as assigned.

Additional job responsibilities, at the SES.4 level

  • Perform highly complex physical optics simulation, optical tolerancing, and system parameter studies using advanced FRED/CodeV scripting and modeling. 
  • Pursue optical solutions in situations that require in-depth analysis of intangible factors and  frequently are not well-defined.
  • Perform conceptual and preliminary designs of highly complex optical systems while leading optical design and engineering efforts.


  • Ability to obtain and maintain a U.S. DOE Q-level security clearance which requires U.S. citizenship.
  • Master’s degree or equivalent combination of education and experience in Optical Engineering, Physics, or related field.
  • Advanced knowledge of and significant experience with CODE V or equivalent optical design software (Zemax, FRED, OSLO).
  • Thorough understanding of geometrical optics and lens design principles.
  • Ability to interpret complex optical and mechanical specifications which involve tolerancing requirements.
  • Significant experience interfacing with customer product requirements related to optical specification and production techniques while working independently.
  • Proficiency with MATLAB, Python and/or similar tools for data processing and simulation.
  • Strong technical motivation to help ensure projects have sound strategy and minimized risks while working to resolve complex engineering issues.
  • Strong technical and non-technical communication skills including providing advice to management regarding optical engineer design and potential technical tradeoffs.
  • Strong interfacing and brainstorming skills as a team member.

Additional qualifications at the SES.4 level

  • Highly advanced optical system design skills and subject matter expertise including the ability to analyze intangible factors that are frequently not well defined and simplify them to a top-level generalization/ parameterization.
  • Substantial experience applying  expert physical optics in a consultative manner.
  • Experience with and substantial knowledge of Macro-PLUS programming language in CODE V.
  • Extensive stray light simulation experience using FRED.

Qualifications We Desire

  • PhD degree or equivalent combination of education and experience in Optical Engineering, Physics, or related field.
  • Leadership skills for leading and managing small, multidisciplinary teams.

Additional Information

All your information will be kept confidential according to EEO guidelines.



Position Information

This is a Career Indefinite position, open to Lab employees and external candidates.

Why Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory?

Security Clearance

This position requires a Department of Energy (DOE) Q-level clearance.  If you are selected, we will initiate a Federal background investigation to determine if you meet eligibility requirements for access to classified information or matter. Also, all L or Q cleared employees are subject to random drug testing.  Q-level clearance requires U.S. citizenship. 

Pre-Employment Drug Test

External applicant(s) selected for this position must pass a post-offer, pre-employment drug test. This includes testing for use of marijuana as Federal Law applies to us as a Federal Contractor.

How to identify fake job advertisements

Please be aware of recruitment scams where people or entities are misusing the name of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) to post fake job advertisements. LLNL never extends an offer without a personal interview and will never charge a fee for joining our company. All current job openings are displayed on the Career Page under “Find Your Job” of our website. If you have encountered a job posting or have been approached with a job offer that you suspect may be fraudulent, we strongly recommend you do not respond.

To learn more about recruitment scams:

Equal Employment Opportunity

We are an equal opportunity employer that is committed to providing all with a work environment free of discrimination and harassment. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, marital status, national origin, ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, medical condition, pregnancy, protected veteran status, age, citizenship, or any other characteristic protected by applicable laws.

We invite you to review the Equal Employment Opportunity posters which include EEO is the Law and Pay Transparency Nondiscrimination Provision.

Reasonable Accommodation

Our goal is to create an accessible and inclusive experience for all candidates applying and interviewing at the Laboratory.  If you need a reasonable accommodation during the application or the recruiting process, please use our online form to submit a request. 

California Privacy Notice

The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) grants privacy rights to all California residents. The law also entitles job applicants, employees, and non-employee workers to be notified of what personal information LLNL collects and for what purpose. The Employee Privacy Notice can be accessed here.

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