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Lead Optical Design Engineer

Harwell, Nottinghamshire, England


Archangel Lightworks is a start-up specialised in space laser communications based in Harwell Space Campus, Oxfordshire. Founded in mid-2017, we have secured long-term funding and successfully demonstrated several novel prototypes related to laser transmission and efficient perpendicular solar concentration. our mission is to 100x the data downloaded from orbit to meet the demand from the growing satellite market. This project will be developed directly with the European Space Agency and in partnership with OpenCosmos.

We are passionate about innovation and driven to find new concepts for communications architectures. An opportunity to join this exciting team is available for an innovative, ambitious and experienced talent with a strong background in Optical Design Engineering and technical leadership to drive this forward and augment our rapidly growing team. The successful candidate will be responsible for “end-to-end” design of optical subsystems as well as simulation development of optical systems from concept all the way through to manufacture.

Specific job responsibilities include but not limited to:

• Design of laser communication terminal optical sub-systems for extreme environments (e.g. telescopes, relays ect).

• Requirement definition and trade off analysis for complex optical systems, finding the optimal balance of performance against cost.

• Modelling of optical system performance.

• Practical testing to compare practical test data to modelled data.

• Working with AIT engineer to define and execute test procedures for optical subsystems.

• Be the subject matter expert for optical and photonic systems.

• Managing suppliers of optical and photonic components.

Interested applicants may also consider starting first as a fixed-term consultant while rolling into a permanent role, which we would willingly support depending on your ability to deliver, innovate and lead. We are a small company who like to do big impactful things and we are seeking someone who shares that mindset.


You will be remunerated competitively depending on your experience and skills. We work around delivery-focused, agile sprints such that you will be making impact early and regularly, with a sustainable work-life balance. There are options for flexible working hours, (some) working from home, travel and training bursaries, as needed. We also work in the buzzing Harwell Space Campus with regular events on site (networking, workshops), and delicious lunch time international cuisines.

Required skills/experience:

• Educated to degree level (or equivalent) in applied optics, Physics (optics) or similar.

• 3+ years related work experience.

• A clear and logical approach to problem solving and presentation of information.

• Optical design/analysis experience in Zemax including system optimisation (Sequential, non-sequential desirable).

• Hands on lab experience designing and carrying out tests with non-visible lasers.

Preferred additional skills/experience:

• Experience designing complex optical systems (telescopes, optical relays, ect) for extreme environments in mass constrained applications.

• Experience conducting stray light analysis and baffle design.

• Experience taking an optical design from conceptual design through manufacturing integration and testing.

• Experience with optical instrument calibration and alignment, and procedure definition.

• Experience using MATLAB to model optical and photonic systems.

• Familiarity with optical and photonic components relevant to free space optical communications. (e.g. types of laser, quadrant detectors, CMOS, Focal Plane Arrays, filters and coatings ect)

• Strong focus on delivery.

• Excellent verbal and written communication skills.

• Familiarity/awareness of laser safety, regulations.

• Experience working on CubeSat projects, UAV, HAPS projects.

• Experience working with multi-disciplinary teams consisting of mechanical, electrical, optical, software and systems engineers.

Dates and duration:

Suitable candidate to join as soon as possible, with the start date negotiable.


Our offices are with the European Space Agency at Harwell, near Oxford. Flight locations are 30 min drive away. Some remote work will be possible. There might be some opportunities for overseas travel – please indicate any restrictions due to visas etc.

Application closing date:

Early application is strongly advised as the position may be filled sooner.

To apply, kindly send a CV and covering letter to applications at archangel dot works. You may also direct your questions at this email or simply register your interest and receive reminders.

To comply with data protection laws, we keep all candidates' personal data confidential and secure while their applications are being considered and remove such data as soon as possible (in the same month) once a decision has been reached.




We are only licensed to sponsor candidates who are already in the UK.

All candidates requiring tier 2 visa are welcome to apply and will be considered alongside all other applications, but please note that the limited numbers of sponsorship certificates would need to be reserved for exceptional talents. In other words, the non-EEA candidates may not be appointed to a post if a suitably qualified, experienced and skilled EU/EEA candidate is available to take up the post as the employing body is unlikely, in these circumstances, to satisfy the Resident Labour Market Test. The UK Visas and Immigration department requires employers to complete this test to show that no suitably qualified EEA or EU worker can fill the post. Those currently exempted from this test are in-country Tier 4 visa holders, for example. For further information please visit the UK Visas and Immigration website

Posted 14 days ago

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