Photonics Engineer (m/w/d)

Garching bei München

Luft- & Raumfahrt

Main Duties and Responsibilities:

Participate in the assembly and system test of laser guide stars for ESO projects such as the ELT. Perform system and sub-system (laser source, projector, laser pointing camera, etc) tests, prepare test reports, and provide inputs to the compliance matrix.

Support the installation of the LGS on ESO telescopes in Chile. Participate in the commissioning and provide inputs to commissioning reports.

Support the ongoing operation of the LGS at the VLT and contribute to the design and specification of upgrades for new instruments. Examples of upgrades could include incremental performance improvements, complete additional LGS units, or overhauls.

Monitor new developments in lasers and optics relevant to laser guide stars; identify where they could be applied to ESO's LGS systems. Contribute to ESO's Technology Development programme and participate in R&D activities where new developments can be tested in the lab and on sky. Currently, the main experimental activity is a development called CaNaPy.

You may be involved in scientific collaborations with European and non-European institutes. Extended missions to ESO's observatories in Chile may be required for the installation and commissioning of laser systems on ESO telescopes.

Reports to:

Head of the Lasers and Photonics group in the Optical Engineering Department as functional manager within ESO's matrix structure.

Key Competences:

Essential Competences:

  • Ability to plan and perform LGS system tests in a thorough and systematic manner. Verify performance in the lab, troubleshoot, and find solutions to technical issues;
  • Good understanding of laser physics and free-space laser propagation; the ability to follow and apply new developments in the field;
  • Contribute to the design and development of laser systems and components with innovative solutions;
  • Capacity and motivation to work in a team. Building strong collaborative working relationships with people from different cultural backgrounds and engineering disciplines;
  • Strong analytical skills. Ability to identify key issues, assess options, and propose a way forward to manage risk and resolve problems;
  • Be proactive in acquiring new skills and quickly develop expertise;
  • Provide clear, concise and timely verbal and written communication. Escalate priority issues appropriately;
  • Plan activities, monitor progress of your own work, deliver to agreed deadlines and standards;

Desirable Competences:

  • Knowledge of opto-mechanical design and manufacturing principles;
  • Ability to design, implement and validate tools and test set-ups tailored to AIT tasks;
  • Knowledge of the general principles of adaptive optics;
  • Familiarity with optical design software applied to laser systems (preferably OpticStudio);
  • Use of simulation/data analysis software (e.g. Python or Matlab);
  • Familiarity with systems engineering methodology.


  • Candidates should have at least 3 years' experience designing, assembling, and testing laser optical systems (e.g. laser guide star, remote sensing/LIDAR, lithography, free-space communications).
  • Laboratory experience with high-power lasers and nonlinear frequency doubling would be an advantage.


  • Essential educational level:
  • A masters university degree in photonics engineering, physics, or a related technical field (MSc or equivalent).
  • Qualifications that would be an asset:
  • A PhD degree or postgraduate experience in a relevant field would be an advantage.
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European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere ESO
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