Optical Engineer

Penn State University

Electro-Optics Center in Freeport, PA
Date Announced:
Date Closing:
open until filled
Job Number:
Level/Salary Band:
  • 01 – L – Exempt
  • 02 – M – Exempt
Work Unit:
Applied Research Laboratory
Electro-Optics Center, Laser Weapons
Full/Part Time:


The Electro-Optics Center (EOC), a Division of the Applied Research Laboratory at The Pennsylvania State University (PSU), located in Freeport, PA, is seeking an entry level or junior optical engineer to support High Energy Laser (HEL) systems and other electro-optical (EO) development programs. This position will work closely with other engineers and scientists at Penn State and at DoD customer laboratories in the design, development, integration, and testing of optical systems. Responsibilities include: Design and optimize components utilized for HEL, imaging and other EO systems; integrate and test components/systems; analyze and troubleshoot optical designs (image quality, stray light, radiometry, etc.); and model sensor performance in real world optical conditions (atmospheric transmissivity, turbulence, etc.) This job will be filled as a level 1, or level 2, depending upon the successful candidate's competencies, education, and experience. Typically requires a Bachelor's degree or higher in an Engineering or Science discipline (Professional Engineer license accepted in lieu of Bachelor's degree) or higher, or an equivalent combination of education and experience for a level 1. Additional experience and/or education and competencies are required for higher level jobs. A Bachelor's degree (Master's degree for higher level position) in Optics, Electrical Engineering, Physics, Imaging Science, or Photonics is desired. The following experience areas are preferred: Optical design software packages; data acquisition hardware and software, including Labview and Matlab; components specification and subsystem level requirements for vendors; laser diagnostic equipment, to include power meters, beam profiling, thermal imaging, wavefront sensors, etc.; military or operational optical systems; and specification and integration of components for laser weapon system development. Successful candidates will possess a strong interest in hands-on optical design and laser applications and possess a broad understanding of electro-optical systems theory. Additional requirements include: Hands-on laboratory experience with optical components including lasers, lenses, mirrors, coatings, optical detectors, cameras, and opto-mechanical accessories including lens and mirror mounts; experience with image analysis; an understanding of opto-mechanics; knowledge of current optics fabrication techniques and limitations; and strong written and verbal communication skills. Candidate selected will be subject to a government security investigation. You must be a U.S. citizen to apply. Employment with the Applied Research Laboratory will require successful completion of a pre-employment drug screen. This is a one-year, fixed-term renewable appointment.

These salary bands have been established to provide salary guidelines for staff positions.

Salary Band Minimum Midpoint Maximum
A $16,584 $24,456 $32,328
B $18,240 $26,904 $35,556
C $19,728 $29,592 $39,456
D $21,708 $32,568 $43,416
E $24,312 $36,468 $48,612
F $27,228 $40,848 $54,456
G $30,012 $45,744 $61,500
H $34,188 $52,140 $70,080
I $38,988 $59,424 $79,908
J $43,716 $67,740 $91,812
K $50,712 $78,600 $106,488
L $58,836 $91,176 $123,528
M $68,232 $105,756 $143,292
N $80,508 $124,788 $169,068
O $93,492 $147,252 $201,024
P $110,340 $173,760 $237,192
Q $126,396 $199,056 $271,728
R $151,668 $238,872 $326,088