LIGO Laboratory (the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory) seeks a highly motivated and skilled Detector Engineer to join its team. LIGO is a National Science Foundation major facility dedicated to gravitational wave astronomy and astrophysics, jointly operated by the California Institute of Technology and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The current generation of advanced interferometers came on line in 2015 and shortly afterwards LIGO launched the field of gravitational wave astronomy with the first observation of the birth of a black hole; this achievement led to the awarding of the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics to its founders. LIGO consists of two widely separated (3,002 km), 4 kilometer-long interferometers operating as a single, phased detector. One (LIGO Hanford Observatory) is located north of Richland, Washington and the other (LIGO Livingston Observatory) is in Livingston, Louisiana. Concurrent to observatory operations, the Laboratory maintains a vigorous R&D program, primarily centered at the Caltech and MIT campuses, to further enhance the capabilities of the LIGO detectors. For more information, please visit the Laboratory website at http:\\www.ligo.caltech.edu.
Job Summary The Detector Operations/Maintenance group provides leadership for all maintenance, documentation, testing, trouble-shooting and modification, including on-call and emergency repairs on LIGO detector subsystems; and is augmented by off-shift operations specialists.
This listing is for a Detector Engineer who specializes in the mechanical and instrumentation aspects of the optical suspensions. The LIGO detector makes use of precision mechanical systems that include both metal and glass structures designed with exacting mechanical, optical, magnetic, and vacuum-compatibility properties. These are controlled with complex servo controls using low noise sensors and actuators. Responsibilities will include stewardship of Advanced LIGO suspension and core optic inventory, installation planning, technical review participation, and testing and commissioning of suspension systems.
The ability to work seamlessly in a team which has installations in Washington and Louisiana, and key members in California and Massachusetts, is critical. The position is located at the LIGO Hanford Observatory, in Hanford, Washington. Occasional travel to other LIGO Laboratory sites may be required.
Job Duties The Detector Engineer's principal duties, reporting to the Detector Operations/Maintenance Lead, are:
- Establish and maintain expertise in the LIGO detector's various systems and components, especially opto-mechanical and their associated instrumentation, taking initiative to improve diagnostic and operational methods. - In close collaboration with other engineers, scientists, and detector operators, participate in the design of detector modifications to enhance reliability, performance and maintainability. - Participate in the construction and installation of detector subsystems. - Perform testing of designs using prototype and production hardware, evaluating, interpreting, and refining as needed, to ensure that the LIGO detector functions consistently and accomplishes its scientific mission. - Characterize suspensions by taking transfer functions, spectral frequency responses, noise measurements and any other tests as needed. - Maintain and improve various noise and performance models, in close collaboration with LIGO's commissioning team and others. - Provide troubleshooting and rapid, on-call response of performance issues with the detector. - Prepare reports to communicate and document procedures, results and findings, within LIGO and/or for publication. - In collaboration with the Electronics and Control Room Operations group, Manage configuration control of equipment, version control of documentation and maintenance of detector hardware and software, including schedules and metrics, along with spares inventories. - Develop and monitor budgets for maintenance (as opposed to upgrades) and spares. - Develop and maintain training programs for Operations Specialists - Other duties as assigned.
Basic Qualifications - B.S. degree in Engineering, Physics, or a related field. - Thorough technical/scientific expertise. - Advanced research engineering and project experience. - Experience designing, constructing and/or commissioning precision scientific instruments and instrumentation systems. - Experience supporting the characterization and/or operation of a complex scientific instrument facility or observatory. - Lifting of items weighing 20 or more pounds.
Preferred Qualifications - M.S. or Ph.D. in Mechanical, Aeronautical or Electrical Engineering, Physics or a related field. - Familiarity with, and working knowledge of, Matlab. - Experience in highly collaborative research and operating environments. - Strong oral communication skills, skill and experience in expository and technical writing, and competence with common office and scientific software. - Work experience in a position that required design and characterization of control systems.
We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.
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