Adaptive Optics Scientist and Group Lead

Submission Information
Publish Date: 
Wednesday, August 24, 2022
Archive Date: 
Wednesday, October 12, 2022
To event remaining 6 days
Job Summary
Job Category: 
Scientific/Technical Staff
Institution Classification/Type: 
Research Laboratory
Large Binocular Telescope Observatory
United States of America
Job Announcement Text: 

The Telescope

The Large Binocular Telescope on Mt. Graham, Arizona, features two 8.4m-diameter mirrors on a single mount and two adaptive secondaries making it the first adaptive telescope of the 8m class. The telescope can be used as an adaptive Fizeau Interferometer providing images with spatial resolution of 10 mas at near-infrared wavelengths. With these attributes, the facility can be considered the first of the new generation of Extremely Large Telescopes.

The LBT Observatory (LBTO) has a record of innovation in high-angular-resolution astronomy, leveraging new Adaptive Optics (AO) technologies and the telescope’s 23-meter optical baseline.  The LBT provided the first implementation of an adaptive secondary mirror for wavefront correction in routine science operations, as well as an early demonstration of pyramid wavefront sensor technology.  The Observatory and its partners have an ongoing program of creative investments in AO-based instrumentation, including ground-layer AO (ARGOS), multi-conjugate AO and interferometry (LINC- NIRVANA), and a new generation of high contrast instruments (SHARK and iLocater) scheduled for deployment in fall 2022.  

The combination of existing and new instrumentation is optimized to exploit the unique features of the telescope, enabling observations in forefront science areas including exoplanets,  supermassive black holes, and cosmic jets.  In looking to the future, the LBT Observatory is planning AO development to enable interferometry at visible wavelengths thereby realizing the full potential of this unique machine.

The Challenge

The LBTO is seeking a scientist or engineer to lead and support the development of the LBT adaptive optics systems described above to achieve the full scientific potential of the observatory’s AO-based  instrumentation. In doing so the AO Group Lead will identify, coordinate, and supervise the activities of a relatively large group of 5-7 people, with growth anticipated in resource commitments and personnel.  Primary activities of the AO group include:

1) AO system general analysis and support
2) AO system science observation support 
3) R&D focused on exploiting the unique capabilities of the telescope in the AO field.

The new AO Group Lead will supervise personnel responsible for the AO system to ensure its optimal performance and efficient scientific operations, while providing leadership to enable the observatory and its partners to develop and implement new AO-related technologies to increase the scientific impact of the telescope.  In carrying out these tasks, the AO Group Lead will report to the Director and will work closely with other members of the observatory’s senior management responsible for engineering, software, and science operations to coordinate resources essential to deployment and operation of AO elements.

Desired Technical Qualifications

Extensive knowledge of AO science and/or AO engineering with particular reference to features of AO that limit performance of scientific instrumentation
Robust knowledge of wavefront sensing techniques and their practical applications
Good knowledge of AO control techniques and their practical applications
Good computational skills and familiarity with high level analysis software like IDL, MATLAB, or Python
Practical experience in AO observation campaigns at ground-based telescopes 
Practical experience in laboratory testing and calibration of AO system components, including wavefront sensors, deformable mirrors, and control loop
Advanced degree in a relevant science or engineering discipline

Other Qualifications

Knowledge of system engineering processes with particular reference to AO system engineering
Knowledge of program management tools and management best practice
Ability to supervise students or junior researchers

The LBTO Community

The Large Binocular Telescope Corporation, representing an international collaboration with partners in Germany, Italy, and the United States, contracts with the University of Arizona for operation of the LBTO.  At the LBTO and the University of Arizona, we value our inclusive climate because we know that diversity in experiences and perspectives is vital to advancing innovation, critical thinking, solving complex problems, and creating an inclusive academic community. As an Hispanic-serving institution, we translate these values into action by seeking individuals who have experience and expertise working with diverse students, colleagues, and constituencies. Because we seek a workforce with a wide range of perspectives and experiences, we provide equal employment opportunities to applicants and employees without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or genetic information. As an Employer of National Service, we also welcome alumni of AmeriCorps, Peace Corps, and other national service programs and others who will help us advance our Inclusive Excellence initiative aimed at creating a university that values student, staff and faculty engagement in addressing issues of diversity and inclusiveness.

Application Deadline: 
Monday, October 10, 2022
Selection Deadline: 
Monday, October 10, 2022
Current Status of Position: 
Accepting Applicants
Apply to Job
Attention To: 
Joseph Shields, Director
Inquiries About Job
Attention To: 
Joseph Shields, Director