Optical Instrument Scientist

3 november 2021
Max € 5.269,- per maand

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Are you our new colleague?

Are you an enthusiastic optical researcher or engineer who would like to work on space instrumentation? Are you interested in the development of satellite instruments that will enhance the capability to measure aerosols and trace gasses in the Earth atmosphere? Or instruments that will characterize the atmospheres of exoplanets? Or perhaps in developing new technologies that allow more compact instrument designs? Are you the person who wants to support our scientists in their research through your technical skills, creativity and know-how? Then we would like to see you strengthen our team and help us achieve our goals.

You and SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research

With your work at SRON, you will assist our scientists with your expertise. Typical tasks include analyzing and modeling the performance of an optical instrument, the testing and calibration of optical instruments or their subsystems, the monitoring of the instrument performance in-flight or developing new ideas and solutions in order to realize something that has never been made before.

Your position and team

You will be part of the Opt-X section which is part of the Instrument Science Group at SRON. The Opt-X section currently has 11 staff members. Together with scientists and engineers it serves different space projects at SRON.

Your project

You will work on one or several of the following topics:

  • Detector characterization and calibration of a spectropolarimeter instrument for the Copernicus CO2 monitoring mission;
  • Mission performance center for the SPEXone instrument for the NASA PACE mission;
  • Detector testing and analysis for the preparation of greenhouse gas measurement satellite instruments;
  • Research on stray light theory and testing of optical metasurfaces and compressive sensing for Earth observation
  • General investigation into optical systems and components for satellites instruments for Earth observation, astronomy and exoplanet detection.

The choice of tasks to which you will be assigned to will be highly dependent on your qualifications and background.

Position requirements

We are looking for a person who shall meet several of the following requirements:

  • Master of science level, a Ph.D. degree in applied Physics or an equivalent discipline is preferred;
  • Experience in the design and analysis of optical systems;
  • Knowledge of detector technologies for imaging and spectroscopic instrumentation;
  • Experience with the control of optical measurement setups, for example experience with automatization, control, and interfacing hardware using Python or equivalent;
  • Good knowledge of optical materials, production techniques of optical components and opto-mechanical concepts;      
  • Knowledge of optical design and simulation software (for example Zemax or equivalent);
  • Experience with novel technologies such as metasurfaces, photonic crystals, compressive sensing, or machine learning;
  • Motivated, proactive, self-starter, communicator.

Experience with space instrumentation for Earth observation, exoplanet detection or astronomy would be a strong asset.

What we offer

As Optical Instrument Scientist at SRON-Leiden you will be employed bij the NWO (The Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research) in a full-time position for a period of 2 years. In accordance with the salary scales of NWO, you will be classified in scale 11 with a maximum of € 5.269,- gross per month on a full-time basis (highly depending on level of education and experience).

NWO has good secondary employment conditions such as:

  • An end of year bonus of 8,33% of the gross annual salary;
  • 42 days of vacation leave a year on full-time basis;
  • An excellent pension scheme;
  • Options for (additional) personal development;
  • Excellent facilities for parental leave;
  • A holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary;
  • Ample training opportunities;
  • Possibility of flexible working hours;
  • A favorable parental leave scheme.


SRON's mission is to achieve breakthroughs in international scientific research from space. To this end, SRON develops groundbreaking technology and advanced space instruments. SRON promotes societal applications for space technology.

About SRON

We have a strong international reputation as 'excellent in space research'. The quality and societal relevance of our science is considered ‘world-leading’. Our mission is to bring about breakthroughs in international space science.

Therefore our Instrument Science Group, supported on project basis by the Engineering Group, technologically enables breakthroughs in our science programmes:

Technology, Astrophysics, Earth science (atmospheric science), Exoplanetary science.

For more information, please contact

More details about SRON can be found on our website: www.sron.nl. For further information about the content of the position, please contact Dr. Ralf Kohlhaas, head of the Opt-X section, via email: [email protected]

Applications with CV and/or portfolio can be submitted until December 12, 2021 at the latest.

In case of proven equal suitability, a woman is preferred. 


At SRON we believe that a workforce diverse in gender, age, and cultural background is key to performing excellent research. We therefore strongly encourage qualified applicants of all ages, sexual orientations, gender expressions, members of minorities, persons with disabilities, and potential dual-academic-career hires to apply.

Online screening may be part of the selection procedure.

Recruitment consultants, please put down the phone. We’ll do the recruitment ourselves so unsolicited acquisition to this vacancy is not appreciated.