Assistant Electronic Engineer
California Institute of Technology - Pasadena, CA

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California Institute of Technology

Closing Date: Open Until Filled

Job Summary
The Caltech/MIT Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) seeks an individual to participate in the design and implementation of complex analog and digital feedback and control systems and circuits at the LIGO Hanford Observatory in Washington State. LIGO is a large experimental physics facility whose purpose is the observation of gravitational waves from space. The successful candidate will join the ongoing upgrade to the observatory detectors.

LIGO is sponsored by the U.S. National Science Foundation to research, develop, and implement techniques for the detection of astrophysical gravitational waves. Facilities include research and development sites on the Caltech and MIT campuses and laser interferometer observatories located at Hanford, Washington and Livingston, Louisiana. For more information see the project web site at

Some travel to may be required to the LIGO Livingston Observatory (Livingston, LA) and/or to our LIGO facilities at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, or the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA.

The position is located in Richland, Washington and is for a 2 year, renewable term.

Job Duties
Work with a team involved in the development, design, fabrication and testing of advanced electronic equipment, instruments and apparatus for utilization in research activities at the LIGO Hanford Observatory. The successful candidate:
  • Designs, constructs and modifies instruments, components and apparatus used in the control and/or acquisition of research data;
  • Conducts technical analysis and develops engineering specifications and parameters to meet research requirements;
  • Analyzes sophisticated research apparatus, scientific equipment and instruments used in research experiments, or laboratory and facility operations;
  • Designs, sets-up and tests performance of research equipment and instruments; maintains documentation and records of instruments and equipment test results;
  • Creates computer models and simulations to demonstrate engineering concepts and approaches to meet research specifications and objectives;
  • Contributes to instrument upgrades and modifications to improve instrument performance;
  • Writes computer programs to interface with instrument controls;
  • Collaborates with researchers on resolving a variety of technical problems affecting experimental outcome and related research;
  • May coordinate procurement of equipment, materials, etc.; participate in selection of manufacturers and contractors to support research efforts;
  • May provide input to research reports, journal and/or articles.
Basic Qualifications
This position requires a BS in Electronic Engineering or in Physics and previous experience in design, fabrication and testing of advanced electronic equipment.

Good verbal and written communication skills in English are essential.

Must be able to install and troubleshoot for equipment spread over 5 miles in various facilities and be able to travel out of state to other LIGO locations as needed.

The basic duties will include driving to various facilities, climbing ladders, working behind equipment racks or in under-floor spaces/crawl spaces, walking and/or standing for significant periods of time.

Must be able to lift 40 pounds of cable trays, electronic racks, mechanical, electrical parts, power supplies and similar items.

Preferred Qualifications
Experience in one or more of the following areas is desirable:

­- Design and implementation of low noise/high dynamic range feedback control loops
  • Electronic circuit design and modeling software, Protel and Cadence Analog Workbench preferred
­- Active filter design
­- VME or PCIx based microprocessors for hardware/real-time software systems, VxWorks operating systems preferred
­- Digital signal processing using embedded processors
­- C and C++ programming

To be considered for this position please visit our web site and apply on line at the following link:

Caltech is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer. Women, Minorities, Veterans and Disabled Persons are encouraged to apply.

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