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DCS Laser Optical Physicist

Job description

Employee Type:



Research Associate

Working Title:

DCS Laser Optical Physicist

Position Number:



College of Arts and Sciences

Hiring Unit:

ISP/Dynamic Compression Sector

Department Link:

Dynamic Compression Sector

Work Location:


Zip Code:


Summary of Duties:

The WSU Institute for Shock Physics is seeking to hire a Laser/Optical Physicist to work with scientists and engineers at a first-of-a-kind experimental user facility: The Dynamic Compression Sector (DCS) at the Advanced Photon Source (APS), Argonne National Laboratory. We are looking to hire an experimentalist who enjoys hands-on work and problem solving in a fast-paced, research environment. Responsibilities for this position include, but are not limited to:
-Participate in the operation of the 100-Joule laser for laser-shock research activities, contribute to the design and conduct of laser-shock experiments, and work with scientific users. This also includes quantifying and archiving the laser performance for each shot.
-Working with other laser experts, document and maintain safe operating procedures related to the laser and its control areas at the DCS.
-Participate in the design, development, and use of optical equipment and systems, for laser-interferometry measurements and other laser-based diagnostics.
-Work with the DCS users to prepare for experiments in advance. This includes providing guidelines for experimental design, as well as personnel safety and equipment operating procedures.
-Contribute effectively to all aspects of the various research projects including assistance to DCS users; optimal and safe operations of the experimental facilities; ensure availability of experimental components, equipment and supplies; enhancement of experimental capabilities; and working effectively in a team setting to advance the DCS research mission.
-Independently define and complete experimental projects and tasks; conduct and analyze research experiments and prepare reports and publications as appropriate.

Additional Information:

The location for this WSU position is the Advanced Photon Source, Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), Lemont, IL. As such, DCS staff are considered to be “resident users” and must adhere to ANL policies and procedures, including the completion of required training courses.

The Laser-Shock capabilities at the DCS include a state-of-the-art 100J laser and a custom-built target chamber system to perform well-characterized, high stress (up to ~500 GPa), short duration (5 – 15 ns) experiments involving x-ray and optical measurements. The optimal performance of the laser system for a broad range of research objectives is a key element of the DCS scientific mission. The flexibility of laser-driven dynamic compression experiments presents unique and exciting challenges and opportunities. The successful candidate will work on a team of physicists responsible for the operation and maintenance of the 100J laser system to ensure optimal performance and to develop new capabilities to conduct state-of-the-art scientific experiments. Further information about the DCS Laser-Shock Station may be found within this journal article: X. Wang, et al.,“The Laser Shock Station in the Dynamic Compression Sector,” Review of Scientific Instruments, 90(5): 053901(2019).

University Overview
Founded as the people’s university in 1890, Washington State University fulfills that commitment by transforming lives through education, research, and community outreach. In 2015, the University celebrated 125 years of delivering life-changing knowledge and discoveries to citizens across the state, region, nation, and around the world. The state’s only land-grant institution and one of two public research universities, WSU provides a world-class education to nearly 30,000 students through its multi-campus, statewide locations and online. The University strives to ensure that higher education is accessible at an affordable cost—a decades-long WSU commitment to the state’s citizens. The University offers more than 200 undergraduate fields of study and 127 graduate and professional degree programs. Many academic programs win recognition nationally for excellence. WSU is one of just 108 public and private universities in the United States—out of more than 4,500—singled out for its “very high research activity” by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University’s research agenda is focused on addressing challenges in health, sustainability, smart systems, national security, and opportunity and equity. WSU is a major driver of Washington’s economy, partnering with many of the state’s leading industries, including agribusiness, aerospace, health care, software, and construction. The University is responsible for nearly 20,600 jobs statewide and generates an overall economic impact of more than $3.3 billion annually. The institution’s operating budget expenditures total nearly $2 billion annually.

The College
The College of Arts and Sciences is the largest academic unit in the WSU system and a powerhouse of research, scholarly, and creative activity.
Comprised of social, natural, and physical sciences, humanities, mathematics, and the arts, the college’s foundational disciplines provide a strong framework for educational and research activities across the institution and fully support the University’s goal to advance knowledge through innovative scholarship and research.
The College is united by the spirit of inquiry, dedicated to the pursuit of excellence, and strengthened by the college’s service to the community.

Benefits Package
Competitive benefits available, more details at hrs.wsu.edu/benefits.

Tenure Track:



Full Time

Appointment Status:


Monthly Salary:

Commensurate with qualifications, experience, and University guidelines.

Required Qualifications:

A background in dynamic compression research is not required for this position. However, strong, hands-on experimental background and skills relevant to the position responsibilities are essential. The required professional qualifications and personal attributes are:

  • A Ph.D. degree in Physics or a related field with a strong background in lasers and optics.
  • Demonstrated strong hands-on ability with the design and optimization of nonlinear optical systems and associated diagnostic equipment.
  • Strong interest in being involved in all aspects of DCS user experiments.
  • Good familiarity with hardware and software required to support user experiments on a large-scale laser.
  • Good computer skills, including experience with programs for instrument control and analysis, such as LabView and Matlab.
  • Excellent communication skills, both oral and written.
  • Ability to effectively work independently and in a team environment, as needed.
  • Personal attributes should include critical thinking, good judgment, clear sense of purpose, attention to detail, and accountability.
  • Must be able to obtain a badge at U.S. Department of Energy National Laboratories to gain access to restricted areas.

Preferred Qualifications:

Experience with optical design software is useful but not required (e.g. Zemax).

Background Check:


Type of Recruitment:

Open Recruitment

Posting Open Date:


Open Until Filled (overrides close field) :


Special Instructions to Applicants:

Please review the full notice of vacancy and other information regarding the WSU-operated Dynamic Compression Sector:

Applicants must attach the following documents to their online application: 1) resume 2) a cover letter and 3) contact information for at least three (3) professional references. Application materials should clearly communicate how the applicant meets all required qualifications and additional requirements.

EEO Statement :

WASHINGTON STATE UNIVERSITY IS AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY/AFFIRMATIVE ACTION EDUCATOR AND EMPLOYER. Members of ethnic minorities, women, special disabled veterans, veterans of the Vietnam-era, recently separated veterans, and other protected veterans, persons of disability and/or persons age 40 and over are encouraged to apply.

WSU is committed to excellence through diversity and faculty-friendly policy action, including partner accommodation and NSF ADVANCE Institutional Transformation programs (http://www.advance.wsu.edu/).

WSU employs only U.S. citizens and lawfully authorized non-U.S. citizens. All new employees must show employment eligibility verification as required by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

WSU is committed to providing access and reasonable accommodation in its services, programs, activities, education and employment for individuals with disabilities. To request disability accommodation in the application process, contact Human Resource Services: 509-335-4521(v), Washington State TDD Relay Service: Voice Callers: 1-800-833-6384; TDD Callers: 1-800-833-6388, 509-335-1259(f), or [email protected]

Posting Number:





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Job No:
Posted: 11/10/2020
Application Due: 1/9/2021
Work Type: