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Senior optical engineer in astronomical instrumentation (HARMONI)

Department of Physics, Denys Wilkinson Building, Keble Road, Oxford

Professor Niranjan Thatte (

Event Details:

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Grade 8: £41,526 – £49,553 per annum
Vacancy ID: 150588
Application Deadline: 11th May 2021

Applications are invited for a Senior optical engineer in astronomical instrumentation (HARMONI)             
The post is available initially for a fixed-term duration of  4.5 yrs.
The European Southern Observatory’s Extremely Large Telescope (ESO ELT) will be the world’s largest visible/infrared telescope ( With a primary mirror diameter of 39 m, it will have nearly as much light collecting area as all the world’s telescopes built to date, combined. HARMONI is the first light spectrograph for the ELT, providing visible and near-infrared integral field spectroscopy, assisted by laser star and natural star adaptive optics.
The successful candidate will be responsible for the optical aspects of the spectrograph sub-system. This include the collimators, fold mirrors, volume phase holographic gratings and cameras, made up of reflective and transmissive optical elements, that are typically procured as custom items from specialist optics manufacturers worldwide.  With its wide wavelength range and high throughput and image quality requirements, the HARMONI spectrograph optics are challenging to fabricate, align and test, and specialist expertise in the design, analysis, assembly, integration and testing of optical components is required. 
Applicants should possess Professional degree at Masters level or above in Physics / Optics / Optical Engineering, and at least 2-3 years of post-qualification experience working in an optics focussed role. (the appointment level will be tailored to the experience and qualification level).  Further details can be found in the Job Description.
The appointment is at Grade 8, but consideration will be given to underfill the post at Grade 7 with the appropriate adjustment in duties, based on amount of experience and degree qualification level.
Previous experience in optical systems design, alignment and test; further details can be found in the Job Description.
Candidates are expected to demonstrate experience in working with optics design and analysis software packages. We also expect the candidate to possess expertise in visible or near-infrared wavelength instrumentation.
The post-holder will have the opportunity to teach.
Please direct enquiries about the role to Professor Niranjan Thatte (
Only applications received before midday 11th May 2021 can be considered. You will be required to upload a letter of application/supporting statement, CV and details of two referees as part of your online application.

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