Position Description

Electronics Design Engineer
Job Category Fulltime Regular
ExemptOvertimeEligible Exempt
Benefits Eligible Benefit Based
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Caltech is a world-renowned science and engineering institute that marshals some of the world's brightest minds and most innovative tools to address fundamental scientific questions. We thrive on finding and cultivating talented people who are passionate about what they do. Join us and be a part of the diverse Caltech community.


Job Summary

LIGO Laboratory (the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory) seeks a highly motivated and skilled  Electronics Design Engineer to join its team. 

The candidate will ideally be located in Pasadena, California. However we are flexible regarding location and will consider locating this position at MIT in Cambridge, MA, or at our observatories in Livingston, LA or Hanford, WA.

LIGO Laboratory is a National Science Foundation major facility dedicated to observing the newly discovered gravitational-wave universe. Jointly operated by the California Institute of Technology and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the LIGO Laboratory operates world-leading observatories near Richland, WA and Baton Rouge, LA as well as R&D centers on the Caltech and MIT campuses. The LIGO Laboratory’s mission spans a broad and vibrant array of activities related to gravitational-wave physics and astronomy, including detector operations, R&D toward detector improvements, gravitational-wave astrophysics, observatory operations, and education and public outreach.

For more information, please visit the Laboratory website at www.ligo.caltech.edu

Life at Caltech/LIGO
LIGO Caltech is located on the campus of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California, near the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains. Caltech has an extraordinary science impact across many fields. Its small size creates a community where innovation and collaboration are the norm. Caltech manages the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) for NASA, the leading US center for the robotic exploration of the Solar System. Caltech also operates large-scale research facilities such as the Palomar and Keck Observatories.

Pasadena is a city known for its contributions to science and technology, rich history, cultural treasures, and scenic beauty. The year-round comfortable weather creates a desirable environment for life and ideas to thrive. See  Bill Nye’s take on our city .

People choose to work at LIGO for many reasons, often with fulfilling, long-term careers. LIGO is a family-friendly laboratory and strives to ensure everyone is able to achieve the work-life balance they desire. Caltech’s benefits program offers a quality, competitive benefits package that is affordable for you and the Institute. The program provides a strong base of coverage for you and your dependents, and the ability to choose the plan and the level of coverage that best meet your needs. We also offer a 403(b) defined contribution plan to eligible staff as well as a Voluntary Retirement Savings (TDA) Plan. LIGO Caltech staff have access to the Institute’s facilities, including the athletic center, libraries, on-site daycare, professional development and enrichment classes, and Athenaeum club memberships (only Caltech site template).

Caltech HR diversity page:  https://hr.caltech.edu/careers/2commitment-diversity

Caltech and LIGO Laboratory’s goal is to build a world-class, diverse workforce and support an inclusive environment that encourages professional development and offers top-notch benefits. Our talented staff, who work at the Caltech campus, or one of our Observatories, come from a variety of fields. Positions include scientists, engineers, information technology staff, outreach professionals, managers, writers, business professionals, and administrative staff. We are deeply committed to encouraging people of all backgrounds to apply for these opportunities. Our experience has demonstrated that the broader the styles, characteristics, backgrounds, and abilities of our staff—in other words, the more diverse our team is—the greater potential we have for success. Caltech is an equal opportunity employer.

LIGO Laboratory is committed to being a welcoming place for everyone regardless of race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, age, or veteran status.

Essential Job Duties

The LIGO Laboratory Control and Data System (CDS) group is responsible for the design, construction and operation of the digital and analog and low-noise electronic systems involved in the data acquisition and feedback control of the Advanced LIGO instruments.

The successful candidate will:

  • Support both the LIGO Chief Detector Scientist and Head of Engineering to ensure the efforts to upgrade, commission and operate the LIGO detectors are supported by LIGO electronics engineering activities.
  • Contribute within a diverse team environment, collaborating and effectively communicating with groups from around the world who have a broad spectrum of backgrounds, skills, and educational preparation.
  • Manage assigned electronics-related efforts to upgrade the LIGO Interferometers for LIGO Operations and/or additional grant monies received.
  • Contribute to the design, test and fabrication of complex very low-noise analog and digital systems and circuits for the LIGO Laboratory.
  • Provide forward-looking guidance for the incorporation of emergent technologies as the LIGO CDS hardware subject matter expert.
  • Serve as a consulting member on Design Review, Technical Review, or other Laboratory committees and panels as required.
  • Initiate and/or collaborate on technical presentations.
  • Manage and support procurements, which may include preparing bid packages (drawings, bill of materials, specifications, and statements of work), and purchase parts and materials. This will include liaising with the LIGO business office team and various suppliers and overseeing and interfacing with various suppliers to answer questions, evaluate alternative approaches, and assist in assuring quality.
  • Coordinate QA inspections, audits, testing and defect investigations alongside other members of the team.
  • Other duties as assigned.
  • This position requires occasional travel to other LIGO installations and possibly internationally.

Basic Qualifications

  • A Master’s degree (or 8 years equivalent experience) in Physics or Engineering.
  • 8+ year’s experience in the field of analog and digital feedback control, monitoring and data acquisition systems, preferably for large physics experiments.
  • Experience and engineering expertise in precision electro-opto-mechanics design and construction.
  • Demonstrated ability to design, specify and fabricate front-end interface electronics, including e.g. low noise analog electronic circuits, computer chassis- based data acquisition and control systems, embedded microprocessor hardware and software systems, remote control and monitoring systems.
  • Demonstrated ability to manage complex tasks, including managing and maintaining project schedules and managing project budgets.
  • The position requires excellent technical writing skills coupled with the ability to communicate clearly with peers, assigned staff and external entities, such as funding agencies and review panels.
  • Hands-on work experience in a laboratory setting, and proficiency in the use of common hand tools and inspection equipment.
  • 2 + years of experience using Altium, SPICE, MATLAB, or Mathematica (or equivalent) for circuit design, data analysis and simulation.

Preferred Qualifications

  • A PhD in Physics or Engineering.
  • Experience in electrical engineering for observatory-class systems.
  • A strong record of gravitational wave instrument design and development expertise.
  • Detailed knowledge of the LIGO interferometer systems.
  • Experience in outreach and student mentorship.
  • A thorough knowledge of electronics test equipment including: RF network analyzers, dynamic signal analyzers, oscilloscopes, and common lab test equipment.
  • Demonstrated ability consisting of 2+ years experience in using computer programming languages such as Python, C, and C++

Required Documents for a complete application

  • Cover Letter and Resume


COVID-19 Vaccine Required for All Employees

Caltech has implemented a mandatory vaccination policy effective October 15, 2021, requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for all employees (with Institute-approved exemptions for religious or medical contraindications only). At present, an individual is deemed “fully vaccinated” when that person has received, at least 14 days prior, either the second dose in a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine series (e.g., Pfizer or Moderna) or a single-dose COVID-19 vaccine (e.g., Johnson & Johnson). Upon eligibility, employees are required to receive the COVID-19 booster as part of the vaccine mandate. As a condition of employment, employees must submit official COVID-19 vaccine documentation. More information may be found here.

EEO Statement

We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to age, race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.

Caltech is a VEVRAA Federal Contractor.

To read more Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) go to eeoc_self_print_poster.pdf.

Disability Accommodations

If you would like to request an accommodation in completing this application, interviewing, or otherwise participating in the employee selection process, please direct your inquiries to Caltech Recruiting at employment@caltech.edu

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