Adaptive Optics Scientist

Submission Information
Publish Date: 
Wednesday, January 22, 2020
Archive Date: 
Wednesday, February 19, 2020
Job Summary
Job Category: 
Science Engineering
Institution Classification/Type: 
GMTO Corporation
Street Line 1: 
465 N. Halstead Street
Street Line 2: 
Suite 250
United States of America
Job Announcement Text: 

Title: Adaptive Optics Scientist

Element: Wavefront Sensing & Control

Location: GMT Project Office, Pasadena CA

This exciting job opportunity is with the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) project HQ located in Pasadena, California. The GMT is being developed by a group of leading university and research centers from across the globe. GMTO Corporation has been formed to design, construct and operate the GMT, which will be located in the Andean mountains at Las Campanas Peak in Chile. The GMT is the next generation astronomical observatory with 10 times the resolution of the Hubble Space Telescope. The project is entering the formal construction phase with scientific operations expected to begin in 2027.


The successful candidate will be an employee of the GMTO Corporation and must be able to meet pre-employment requirements including any background and reference checks and the successful candidate must be a US citizen or eligible to work in the United States and at least 18 years of age. GMTO provides competitive salaries and a generous benefits package.

Job Summary:
The Adaptive Optics (AO) Scientist will play a lead role in the design, development, integration, and testing of the GMT adaptive and active optics subsystems. This includes simulating AO performance, developing requirements and performance budgets, and building and testing laboratory prototypes and AO testbeds.
The AO Scientist will participate in the acceptance testing of AO subsystems developed by partner institutions and industrial vendors, and will play a key role in the integration, testing, and commissioning of the GMT AO system at Las Campanas Observatory.
The AO Scientist will work within the Wavefront Sensing and Control group and report directly to the Wavefront Sensing and Control Manager.

Job Duties:
• Lead the development of laboratory optical testbeds designed to verify active and adaptive optics control algorithms and end-to-end performance
• Participate in the procurement and testing of AO-related subsystems such as wavefront sensors, calibration sources, real-time computer systems and/or laser guide star systems
• Analyze GMT AO performance using computer simulations and analytical models
• Oversee acceptance tests of AO subsystems, including the adaptive secondary mirror
• Evaluate GMT AO performance during telescope commissioning
• Prepare technical reports to document the GMT AO design and performance
• Prepare and deliver presentations at technical reviews and conferences

Essential Skills, Knowledge, and Abilities:
• A Ph.D. degree in optical science, astronomy, physics, or a related field
• At least three (3) years of experience in the development or use of adaptive optics systems
• Strong analytical skills
• Knowledge of AO theory, modeling techniques, components, and testing methods
• Willingness and ability to travel to foreign and domestic vendor and observatory locations as the need arises.
• Competency using high-level programming languages such as Matlab, IDL, or Python
• Excellent written and oral communication skills in English
• Demonstrated ability to work in a team environment

Desired Skills, Knowledge, and Abilities:
• Hands-on experience developing and testing astronomical adaptive optics systems or laboratory optical testbeds
• Experience using Zemax, Code V, or similar optical design and analysis tools

Please send your CV and a Cover Letter to

If your skills and experience appear to be a match or if we need additional information to make a decision, we will contact you. If we do not see a suitable match between your qualifications and the position, we will keep your information on file in the event future positions become available that are more suitable to your qualifications.

GMTO is an equal employment opportunity employer

Included Benefits: 

GMTO offers an exceptional benefit package.

Highlights include top notch medical (PPO and HMO), dental and vision, basic life and accidental death and dismemberment insurance and core long term disability insurance plans.

We offer an outstanding retirement plan. All employees are eligible to participate and GMTO provides an automatic contribution of 10%-20% based on age. 

Our benefit package includes 15 days of sick pay per year; in addition to 24 days of vacation per year. Accrual for both sick pay and vacation begins on the first day of employment. GMTO also provides 15 paid holidays per year (including a full week between Christmas and New Year's), and we are one of the few companies that still pays for jury duty (up to 10 days)!

Application Deadline: 
Friday, February 21, 2020
Selection Deadline: 
Saturday, February 22, 2020
Current Status of Position: 
Accepting Applicants
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Attention To: 
GMTO Corporation
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