Photonics Engineers

Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics > Engineering and Technology

Projected Growth: Average

Projected Job Openings

Considerable Preparation Needed

Job Description

Your job is to Design technologies specializing in light information or light energy, such as laser or fiber optics technology.

Common job titles of Photonics Engineers include:

Experience and Education

A considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is needed for this occupation. For example, a person in this occupation must complete four years of college and work for several years in industry to be considered qualified.

  • 52.38% said they needed a Bachelor's Degree.

  • 38.1% said they needed a Master's Degree.


    Design, integrate, or test photonics systems or components.

    Develop optical or imaging systems, such as optical imaging products, optical components, image processes, signal process technologies, or optical systems.

    Read current literature, talk with colleagues, continue education, or participate in professional organizations or conferences to keep abreast of developments in the field.

    Develop or test photonic prototypes or models.

    Analyze system performance or operational requirements.

    Document photonics system or component design processes, including objectives, issues, or outcomes.

    Design photonics products, such as light sources, displays, or photovoltaics, to achieve increased energy efficiency.

    Determine applications of photonics appropriate to meet product objectives or features.

    Conduct testing to determine functionality or optimization or to establish limits of photonics systems or components.

    Conduct research on new photonics technologies.

    Write reports or proposals related to photonics research or development projects.

    Develop photonics sensing or manufacturing technologies to improve the efficiency of manufacturing or related processes.

    Train operators, engineers, or other personnel.

    Oversee or provide expertise on manufacturing, assembly, or fabrication processes.

    Assist in the transition of photonic prototypes to production.

    Determine commercial, industrial, scientific, or other uses for electro-optical applications or devices.

    Design electro-optical sensing or imaging systems.

    Analyze, fabricate, or test fiber-optic links.

    Design solar energy photonics or other materials or devices to generate energy.

    Design or redesign optical fibers to minimize energy loss.

    Design or develop new crystals for photonics applications.

    Create or maintain photonic design histories.

    Design gas lasers, solid state lasers, infrared, or other light emitting or light sensitive devices.

    Develop laser-processed designs, such as laser-cut medical devices.

    Design laser machining equipment for purposes such as high-speed ablation.

    Select, purchase, set up, operate, or troubleshoot state-of-the-art laser cutting equipment.


Xenon arc lamps

Wavelength meters

Vacuum deposition systems

Tunable dye lasers

Tunable diode lasers

Total internal reflection fluorescence TIRF microscopes

Streak cameras

All Tools

Spin coaters





Single photon lasers

Semiconductor parameter analyzers

Scanning electron microscopes SEM

Reactive ion etchers RIE

Rapid thermal annealers RTA

Raman microscopes

Pulse generators

Probe test stations

Power meters


Plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition PECVD systems

Photon counting systems

Photodiode array detectors


Personal computers

Oxidation furnaces


Optical time domain reflectometers OTDR

Optical spectrum analyzers

Optical power meters

Optical fiber cleavers

Optical choppers

Nitrogen lasers

Near infrared cameras

Near field scanning optical microscopes NSOM

Microprobe stations

Line scan cameras

Laser tweezers

Laser printers

Laser facsimile machines

Laser Doppler vibrometers

Laser beam profilers

Isolation glove boxes


Infrared viewers

Fluorescence lifetime spectrometers

Flow meters

Femtosecond lasers

Extreme ultraviolet lasers

Electron beam lithography systems

Digital storage oscilloscopes DSO

Digital panel meters

Digital cameras

Deconvolution fluorescence microscopes

Current monitors


Contact lithography systems

Confocal fluorescence microscopes

Coherent anti-Stokes Raman scattering CARS microscopes

Chemical mechanical polishing CMP systems

Chemical hoods

Biosafety cabinets

Bench refractometers


Atomic force microscopes AFM

Argon-ion lasers


Apollo Photonics APSS

Autodesk AutoCAD



Dassault Systemes CATIA

Mathsoft Mathcad

Microsoft .NET Framework

All Technologies

National Instruments LabVIEW

Optiwave OptiBPM

Optiwave OptiFDTD

Optiwave OptiSPICE

Photon Design CrystalWave

Photon Design FIMMWAVE

Photon Design OmniSim


The MathWorks MATLAB

Adept Scientific GRAMS



Pattern recognition software

Photon Design FIMMPROP

Photon Design PICWave

Spectroscopy software

Wolfram Research Mathematica


Critical Thinking

Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Reading Comprehension

Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.


Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

Active Listening

Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.


Talking to others to convey information effectively.


Using mathematics to solve problems.

Active Learning

Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.


Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.

Complex Problem Solving

Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.

Judgment and Decision Making

Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

Operations Analysis

Analyzing needs and product requirements to create a design.

Technology Design

Generating or adapting equipment and technology to serve user needs.

Systems Evaluation

Identifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system.

Systems Analysis

Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.

Learning Strategies

Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.


Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.


Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.


Teaching others how to do something.

Quality Control Analysis

Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.


Read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.

Cognitive Abilities › Verbal Abilities › Written Comprehension

Apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.

Cognitive Abilities › Idea Generation and Reasoning Abilities › Deductive Reasoning

Combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).

Cognitive Abilities › Idea Generation and Reasoning Abilities › Inductive Reasoning

Arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).

Cognitive Abilities › Idea Generation and Reasoning Abilities › Information Ordering

Listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.

Cognitive Abilities › Verbal Abilities › Oral Comprehension

Communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.

Cognitive Abilities › Verbal Abilities › Written Expression

Choose the right mathematical methods or formulas to solve a problem.

Cognitive Abilities › Quantitative Abilities › Mathematical Reasoning

Communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.

Cognitive Abilities › Verbal Abilities › Oral Expression

Come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).

Cognitive Abilities › Idea Generation and Reasoning Abilities › Fluency of Ideas

Come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.

Cognitive Abilities › Idea Generation and Reasoning Abilities › Originality

Tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.

Cognitive Abilities › Idea Generation and Reasoning Abilities › Problem Sensitivity

Generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.

Cognitive Abilities › Idea Generation and Reasoning Abilities › Category Flexibility

See details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).

Sensory Abilities › Visual Abilities › Near Vision

Add, subtract, multiply, or divide quickly and correctly.

Cognitive Abilities › Quantitative Abilities › Number Facility

Imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.

Cognitive Abilities › Spatial Abilities › Visualization

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Occupation Sections


Engineering and Technology

Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.


Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.


Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub- atomic structures and processes.

Computers and Electronics

Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.


Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.

English Language

Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.


Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.

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