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Staff Optical Engineer

Nautilus Biotechnology

Nautilus Biotechnology

Other Engineering
San Carlos, CA, USA
Posted on Tuesday, April 11, 2023
At Nautilus, we have a big and important mission: improve the health of millions by unleashing the potential of the proteome to accelerate drug development and enable a new world of precision and personalized medicine. We are developing a single-molecule protein analysis platform of unprecedented sensitivity, scale, and ease of use that we believe will democratize access to the proteome – one of the most dynamic and valuable sources of biological insight. To accomplish this, we are pursuing deep, hard science with an entrepreneurial mindset and creating a world-class team of builders, innovators, and dreamers across a wide range of disciplines.
We are looking for an Optical Engineer to join our growing Instrument Engineering team. This is an exciting role that will collaborate with a cross-functional team of scientists and engineers to develop and commercialize the world’s first single molecule protein analysis instrument. This individual will be the subject matter expert in the area of optics.


  • Assemble, align, test, and integrate optical subsystem into protein decode instrument
  • Develop alignment methods, related tools, and processes.
  • Develop detailed characterization plans and study performance of various units; ensure unit to unit matching of system performance.
  • Designs, executes, analyzes, and documents experiments to evaluate optical characteristics (e.g., image quality (MTF), resolution, focus, signal intensity, and uniformity) to understand how they may be affected by other factors (e.g., alignment tolerances, temperature, scan speed, laser power, vibration, etc…).
  • Collaborates with scientists, fluidics engineers, and others in testing the assay to understand how chemistry, molecular biology, fluidics, and hardware interact with and affect optics.
  • Collaborates with the image processing team on development of the full imaging sub-system, including defining the optics specifications and image quality metrics.
  • Develops imaging automation scripting, in collaboration with the Instrument Control Software Team, to integrate imaging into the instrument workflow.
  • Provides documentation and training for the transfer of design, assembly, alignment, and troubleshooting to Manufacturing and Service.
  • Identifies, tracks, and isolates root cause of issues and implements permanent corrective actions.
  • Drives system and subsystem development to meet requirements on an ambitious schedule, through all phases of commercialization.
  • Works with suppliers to define, specify, select, and qualify tools and test fixtures needed for optical alignment and qualification.


  • Bachelor’s Degree in optical engineering, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, bioengineering, physics, or equivalent.
  • 6+ years of relevant experience with the above responsibilities.
  • Experience collaborating with optical and opto-mechanical engineers to characterize and develop designs.
  • Experience with optical system assembly methods and materials.
  • Experience transferring products and processes to manufacturing.
  • Works independently, self-driven, and skilled at effective, proactive communication.

Preferred Skills

  • Experienced in development and successful commercialization of products employing rapid, high-resolution fluorescence microscopy of large areas.
  • Familiarity with optical design software such as Code V, LightTools, or Zemax.
  • Familiarity with tools and techniques used to evaluate optical systems’ characteristics, including resolution, distortion, and field curvature.
  • Analytical expertise using statistical tools/modeling.
  • Experience working with molecular biology, fluidics, and mechatronics.
  • Proficient with SolidWorks or equivalent 3D CAD software.
  • Experience with programming/scripting in Python and LabView.
  • Familiarity UL or ETL safety and CE standards as pertains to optical systems, particularly laser safety.

Nautilus Team Culture

  • We are curious go-getters: this is a team of life-long learners who aren’t afraid to tackle the big challenges and we embrace the journey.
  • We are detail oriented: we do great science by working smart & with diligence where we learn from our trials and mistakes.
  • We are easy to work with: we want our workplace to be one where everyone can share their perspective and be treated with respect and kindness.