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Senior Optical Engineer

Hampton, Virginia

We would like to add a motivated, fast-paced Lidar and Electro-optics Engineer with a diverse and solid background to our on-site team in Hampton, Virginia.

Job Description

The primary purpose of this position is to serve as an Electro-optical Engineer working on cutting edge coherent Doppler lidar and instrumentation based on Doppler measurements. You will use hands-on experience building laboratory prototypes and production hardware as well as computer modeling to accelerate development of second-generation lidar to support the fast-moving autonomous vehicle sector, defense applications, and space-based navigation.

You will lead projects that include system and component modeling and experimentation to correlate model results with laboratory and flight campaigns measurements. Work requires electronics and optics knowledge, algorithm development, controls systems knowledge, coding experience, and a system generalist’s mindset to rigorously capture the current system performance as well as potential and actual future improvements.

Our designs must perform under stringent automobile, aero, and space environmental conditions. Highly-integrated sensors and supporting electronics will be necessary to achieve high-performance requirements for our alpha and beta demonstration units. The successful candidate will be familiar with methods for utilizing computer models and statistical methods to predict system performance across highly variable environmental conditions. This newly developed lidar and improved signal processing systems will have a far-reaching impact in the field of autonomous vehicles.

The work involves analyzing, designing, coding, simulating, testing, and conducting performance validation and verification of optical and photonic elements, electronic data processing, controls, and instrumentation systems. These will be used for detecting, recording, measuring, or controlling physical conditions, phenomena, and environments encountered in automotive, aeronautical and aerospace development programs.

Major Responsibilities as an Engineer

  • Design and develop improved subsystems for next generation Doppler lidar.
  • Use measurement science expertise to design validation protocols to demonstrate user requirements are met.
  • Development mathematical computer models that include optical, analog and digital electronic, control loops, detector and processing elements, and complex interfaces.
  • Design and test the simulation against actual laboratory and flight systems to allow system level improvements and new concepts to be quickly and accurately evaluated for implementation.
  • Utilize industry standard modeling codes for optical and electronic systems simulation and incorporate these into custom models for Psionic components and systems
  • Generates and reviews development and design approaches for adequacy, feasibility, cost, and conformance to overall goals and best engineering practices.
  • Presents results at project reviews and technical conferences.
  • Ensures assigned aerospace and/or ground support equipment meet project objectives and environmental conditions and are compatible with ground data acquisition and processing capabilities.
  • Writes and reviews technical goals and approaches, monitoring progress during development, design, and testing. Provides advanced technical assistance in development, design, and integration of technologies and systems.

Additional Responsibilities as a Technical Specialist

  • Review and analyzes existing systems design in order to initiate redesign or modifications to improve operational effectiveness of hardware and software.
  • Designs or directs the development of unique or leading-edge technology, hardware, equipment, or systems to meet specific mission requirements.
  • Manages engineering team efforts related to the study, development, and test of hardware, data system components, or equipment.
  • Supports the design, development and testing, including upgrades, parts reliability requirements, failure analysis/corrective action investigations, special laboratory tests, performance evaluations, and design audits of in-house and contracted projects and provides status to senior program management.
  • Oversees the day-to-day development activities of the design team in support of the project manager's work plan.
  • Performs additional data systems and analysis work as required.

Technical Skills

  • Maintains a broad knowledge of optics and electronics analog/digital design engineering.
  • Senior Engineer (7-10 years min.).
  • Experienced working in teams for the formulation, design, development, modification, implementation, calibration, and field deployment of difficult electronic measurement and instrumentation systems or other ground systems, or subsystems for laboratory, aero, or space flight systems.
  • Experience with full life cycle development.
  • Experienced with MATLAB, Zemax, and Pspice or equivalent tools.
  • Demonstrated success in the field of electro-optical system design.
  • Ability to troubleshoot and diagnose issues that arise during testing.


  • BS degree or higher in Physics, Mathematics or Engineering (Required)
  • 5+ years of Optical Engineering experience (Required)
  • 3+ years of Lidar Engineering Development experience (Preferred)
  • Significant hands-on experience (Required)
  • Strong oral and written communication skills
  • An ability to learn new skills and adapt to new technologies
  • Must be authorized to work in the U.S. (Required)


  • Relocation assistance available
  • Monthly stipend to help with employee health insurance (will move to full company sponsored benefits plan later in 2019)

Psionic, Inc. is an Equal Opportunity Employer. U.S. Citizenship is required for the advertised position.
"How I'm building our engineering organization."
Steve Sandford, Founder and CTO

To discuss this opportunity, please send us a note with your resume and indicate the job you’re interested in in the Subject line.  Our engineers will review and one of us will get back to you.

If you don’t see an exact match with our current openings, please get in touch.  We are growing rapidly and would love to hear from you.

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