Software Engineer in the Centre for Advanced Instrumentation, Physics

Updated: 3 months ago
Location: Durham, ENGLAND
Job Type: FullTime
Deadline: 11 Dec 2023

The Role and Department

The Centre for Advanced Instrumentation (CfAI) is a large research group in the Department of Physics at Durham University with approximately seventy staff and research students. CfAI's mission is to design and develop novel scientific instrumentation for applications across a wide range of disciplines including adaptive optics, spectroscopy, biophysics, remote sensing, laser communications, and fusion diagnostics.

Much of CfAI's historical work has been in the development of instrumentation for astronomy. CfAI has provided major instruments for many of the world's leading astronomical facilities including the James Webb Space Telescope, Gemini Telescopes, Southern African Large Telescope and the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope. Major current ground-based instrument projects in CfAI include development of two of the first-light instruments for the upcoming 39m diameter Extremely Large Telescope being built in Chile.

We are looking for a Software Engineer to support the development of a range of astronomical, space-based and other scientific instrument programs. You will undertake software design & development activities within a varied portfolio of scientific instrumentation projects with an emphasis on real-time control (RTC) for Adaptive Optics (AO).

As a software engineer in the group, you will be expected to contribute to the development of high-quality software for all stages of the project life cycle. This may involve working directly with scientists on laboratory experiments, to multi-year development of cutting-edge astronomical instruments as part of large international collaborations. RTC development typically involves the optimisation of code and algorithms to run in real-time with low latency on a variety of processor architectures and developing interfaces to external hardware such as high-speed scientific cameras. You will be doing this alongside our very experienced RTC team who will provide guidance and training but a familiarity with (or a willingness to learn) RTC software development is a requirement for this role.

When required you will be expected to travel a few times per year to attend meetings or work with collaborators in research institutes and observatories across the world. Typically, these trips will be for up to a week but there may be more extended periods of up to 2-3 weeks when we are delivering and installing software.

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