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Researcher / Engineer in Free-Space Optical Communication Systems for Space

Northumbria University - Newcastle
Newcastle, UK
Posting live until
14 Apr 2023

Job Details

Applications are invited for a 23-month postdoctoral research position in the area of optical inter-satellite laser communication systems. The successful candidate will work in the Department of Mathematics Physics and Electrical Engineering at Northumbria University, within the Northumbria Space Technology Laboratory and Optical Communication Research Group (OCRG). The candidate will work within a team preparing an in-orbit technology demonstration mission, for a novel laser communications system for CubeSats. For further information about the Northumbria Space Technology Laboratory see here:

This position is funded by UK Space Agency to perform the design, testing, and build of hardware and software for two 6U CubeSats to launch into Low Earth Orbit and demonstrate the function of a free space optical link between CubeSats. The project is led by Northumbria University and includes partners from Durham University, e2E Group and Smart Sentry SMS, as well as support from Lockheed Martin UK Space. The overall aim of the role is to lead the development of the laser-based optical communication payload, including design, simulation, testing and building of flight models including mechanical, electronic, and software interfaces with the CubeSat bus. 

The ideal candidate should have a PhD in physics or engineering with experience in working in a laboratory environment, or a track record of professional experience in aerospace, satellite technology or optical communication research projects. Experience in programming in C and with real time operating systems and / or experience with other similar optical communication projects is essential. Experience in working with (i) high-power (>1W) and high-speed (>1Gbps) laser sources, laser characterisation techniques, alignment, and beam profiling in both the visible and infra-red wavelengths; and (ii) high-speed optical receivers and laser-based position sensing are required. The role will include acceptance testing and assembly of parts and so the ability to design and follow work flows to meet specified requirements, with short and frequent reporting deadlines, is important. Environmental and system level testing of the payload will also be part of the project and so experience with or knowledge of product acceptance and quality assurance standards and techniques is desirable.

For informal enquiries about this post, please contact Dr Eamon Scullion: .

Further information about the requirements of the role is available in the person specification:


Awarded the title of University of the Year in the 2022 Times Higher Education Awards, Northumbria University is a research-intensive modern university with a global reputation for academic excellence. Northumbria recorded the biggest rise of any UK university for research power in the Research Excellence Framework for the second time in 2021 and is now ranked in the top 25 UK universities for this measure. Discover more about us

Northumbria University is a great place to work.  We empower our exceptional people to achieve shared ambitions and promote a positive work life balance.  We offer a wide range of benefits including excellent pension schemes, flexible working, a generous holiday entitlement, and continued commitment to your learning and development. Northumbria University is committed to creating an inclusive culture where we take pride in, and value, the diversity of our staff.  We encourage and welcome applications from all members of the community.  The University holds a bronze Athena Swan award in recognition of our commitment to advancing gender equality, we are a Disability Confident Employer, a member of the Race Equality Charter and are participating in the Stonewall Diversity Champion Programme.  We also hold the HR Excellence in Research award for implementing the concordat supporting the career Development of Researchers and are members of the Euraxess initiative to deliver information and support to professional researchers. 

The University has implemented a range of flexible working arrangements, and we are happy to explore candidate requirements as part of the recruitment process.

Company info
0191 232 6002
Ellison Pl
Newcastle upon Tyne

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