Los Alamos National Laboratory Optical Technician (Research Tec 2/3) in Los Alamos, New Mexico

What You Will Do

The Space and Remote Sensing (ISR‐2) and Space Instrument Realization (ISR‐5) Groups at Los Alamos National Laboratory are seeking a qualified optical or electro‐optical technician to participate in the execution of our portfolio of optical sensing programs. We develop innovative optical sensors and ground, airborne and space hardware/software systems for sky surveillance, space situational awareness, spectral sensing, high-speed imaging, passive/active remote sensing, and other applications.

This position will be filled at either the Research Tec 2 / Research Tec 3 level, depending on the skills of the selected candidate. Additional job responsibilities (outlined below) will be assigned if the candidate is hired at the higher level.

Research Tec 2 ($45,500 ‐ $70,000)

Job responsibilities may include:

  • Characterize optical sensors, including ultra-low-light photon-counting imagers, commercial detectors and imagers from the UV to cryogenically-cooled thermal IR systems

  • Lay out, align and test laboratory optical setups for scientific experiments and system testing.

  • Design, prepare, and execute laboratory and field experiments related to optical sensing.

  • Maintain and use laser systems, including high-repetition-rate short-pulse diode-pumped solid state lasers.

  • Determine requirements for, procure, and test new hardware.

  • Set up, run, and maintain data collection systems.

Research Tec 3 ($50,200 - $77,600)

The Research Tec 3 will be expected to perform these tasks with greater proficiency and with less supervision.

What You Need

Minimum Job Requirements:

  • Demonstrated knowledge and experience with conducting basic technical work that is relevant to one or more of the above programs and focus areas

  • Some combination of training or experience with optical and/or electro‐optic systems such as electronics, sensors, focal plane arrays, cameras, optics, lasers, data acquisition, and instrumentation

  • Demonstrated ability to interact effectively in a team environment

  • Demonstrated ability to express ideas clearly in written and oral communications

  • Ability to obtain and maintain a DOE Q clearance (generally requires U.S. citizenship)

In addition to the job requirements outlined above, qualification of the Research Tec 3 level requires:

  • Advanced knowledge and experience with conducting basic technical work that is relevant to one or more of the above programs and focus areas

  • Demonstrated work experience with optical and/or electro‐optic systems such as electronics, sensors, focal plane arrays, cameras, optics, lasers, data acquisition, and instrumentation

  • Experience and demonstrated skill in conducting research, investigating alternative solutions, and recommending solutions on problems affecting optical, electronic, or mechanical systems and/or equipment

Desired Skills:

  • Basic knowledge of or experience in:

  • Optical instrumentation response characterization, calibration, and optimization

  • Data acquisition and data management systems

  • Laser operation and alignment, and with laser safety

  • Optical sensor design, fabrication, and testing

  • Experience with the execution of field campaigns/work

  • Free‐space optical communications

  • Computing and one or more programming languages (e.g., Matlab, Labview, C/C++, ...)

  • Active DOE Q Clearance


  • Education Requirement for Level 2: High school diploma and a minimum three-to-five years of related experience, or an equivalent combination of education and experience

  • Education Requirement for Level 3: An associate’s degree plus three-to-five years of experience in a specific field of technology, or an equivalent combination of education and experience.

Essential Job Functions (can perform with or without reasonable accommodation):

Reading vision, ability to hear in a normal range (500 to 3000 Hz), fine motor control, use of both hands, typing or keyboarding, climbing stairs, crouching or kneeling, lifting 30 pounds, working alone sometimes.

Work Environment:

Working overtime or irregular schedule possible. Domestic/foreign travel possible. Irritant chemicals. Fumes. Carcinogens. Safety glasses or eye protection. Face shield or facial protection. Gloves or hand protection. Hood use.

Notes to Applicants:

Must have the ability to support field campaigns in remote locations.

In addition to a resume, candidates must submit a cover letter addressing the specific job requirements and desired skills. Applications without this letter will not be considered.

Additional Details:

Clearance: Q (Position will be cleared to this level). Applicants selected will be subject to a Federal background investigation and must meet eligibility requirements* for access to classified matter.

*Eligibility requirements: To obtain a clearance, an individual must be at least 18 years of age; U.S. citizenship is required except in very limited circumstances. See DOE Order 472.2 for additional information.

New-Employment Drug Test: The Laboratory requires successful applicants to complete a new-employment drug test and maintains a substance abuse policy that includes random drug testing.

Regular position:Term status Laboratory employees applying for regular-status positions are converted to regular status.

Internal Applicants:Please refer to Laboratory policy P701 for applicant eligibility.

Equal Opportunity: Los Alamos National Laboratory is an equal opportunity employer and supports a diverse and inclusive workforce. All employment practices are based on qualification and merit, without regards to race, color, national origin, ancestry, religion, age, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation or preference, marital status or spousal affiliation, physical or mental disability, medical conditions, pregnancy, status as a protected veteran, genetic information, or citizenship within the limits imposed by federal laws and regulations. The Laboratory is also committed to making our workplace accessible to individuals with disabilities and will provide reasonable accommodations, upon request, for individuals to participate in the application and hiring process. To request such an accommodation, please send an email to applyhelp@lanl.gov or call 1-505-665-4444 option 1.

Where You Will Work_

Located in northern New Mexico, Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) is a multidisciplinary research institution engaged in strategic science on behalf of national security. LANL enhances national security by ensuring the safety and reliability of the U.S. nuclear stockpile, developing technologies to reduce threats from weapons of mass destruction, and solving problems related to energy, environment, infrastructure, health, and global security concerns.

The Space Instrument Realization Group (ISR‐5) provides engineering and technical expertise to support the development and deployment of space‐based custom instrumentation for national security applications. The Space & Remote Sensing Group (ISR‐2) capabilities include expertise in source phenomenology, propagation effects, advanced sensor and algorithm development, and laboratory and field experimentation for remote detection challenges primarily in the radio‐frequency (RF), infrared (IR), and optical regimes.

Location: Los Alamos, NM, US

Contact Name: Ditsworth, Samantha Aileen


Email: samanthad@lanl.gov

Job Title: Optical Technician (Research Tec 2/3)

Appointment Type: Regular

Req ID: IRC70161