Staff Engineer – Python Developer, Materials Science

Job ID



SLAC – Menlo Park, CA



SLAC Job Postings

Position overview

The Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource (SSRL) is seeking a Python Developer, who will play a crucial role in developing the Python controls layer that integrates with our lower-level EPICS control system to manage x-ray instrumentation. In this position, you will be responsible for creating controls that integrate sample and optics positioning, beamline controls, environmental controls, detectors, and additional measurement instrumentation. You will work with SSRL beamline engineers and science staff to understand the work flow for the end user to ensure usability. Your work will be central to our broader initiative to modernize existing control systems, enhancing both their functionality, efficiency, and ease of use, as well as enabling initiatives for autonomous x-ray measurements.

In addition to contributing to the modernization of our data acquisition and controls systems, this developer will collaborate to develop robotic control systems and integrate AI/ML layers for autonomous control of instruments. Your contributions will be essential in driving forward our efforts to develop autonomous in-situ and operando x-ray measurements to accelerate the pace of scientific discovery. You will have the opportunity to work with a global user base across scientific application areas in materials for energy, sustainability, and at the interface of biology. You will work with a diverse range of stakeholders including facility users, engineering staff, scientific staff, and staff from other DOE x-ray user facilities to scope project goals, and define pathways to solutions. This role offers an exciting opportunity to sit at the intersection of science and engineering and contribute to the success of the broader community of SSRL users to support cutting edge science.

SLAC is a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) laboratory operated by Stanford University and based in Menlo Park; CA.

Your specific responsibilities include:

  • Design, develop, and maintain a Python controls layer interfacing with EPICS controls for x-ray instrumentation.

  • Integrate and interface with various hardware components, including motion control systems, detectors, sample environmental controls, and secondary instrumentation.

  • Develop intuitive and user-friendly interfaces for instrument control and monitoring.

  • Collaborate with cross-functional teams, including software developers, hardware engineers, and scientists, to ensure seamless integration of controls and instrumentation.

  • Troubleshoot and resolve issues related to controls and instrumentation to ensure optimal instrument performance and reliability.

  • Stay up-to-date with the latest advancements in control systems, machine learning, and automation technologies.

  • Maintain data acquisition and controls system documentation and train beamline staff on the use of the controls layer.

  • Collaborate with senior engineers and scientists to design and develop special purpose controls system components.

  • Participate in the planning, design, and implementation of scientific or engineering initiatives, and work toward project objectives.

  • Establish, communicate, and enforce compliance with health and safety policies and procedures.

  • Other duties may also be assigned.

To be successful in this position you will bring:

  • Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, Physics, Mathematics, Robotics or a related field and 4 years of experience in controls engineering, with a focus on developing and implementing control systems using Python.

  • Strong proficiency in Python programming, including experience with relevant libraries and frameworks.

  • Experience with EPICS (Experimental Physics and Industrial Control System) or similar control systems.

  • Demonstrated experience in developing user interfaces for control systems.

  • Knowledge of integrating diverse hardware components such as motion control, detectors, and environmental controls.

  • Familiarity with machine learning algorithms and their application in control systems.

  • Experience with robotic systems and sample handling automation is highly desirable.

  • Excellent written, verbal communications, interpersonal and organizational skills

  • The ability to interact effectively with a diverse group of scientists, technical staff and user groups in a fast-paced and dynamic environment is essential

  • Ability to work in a team environment as well as work unsupervised

  • Ability to write clear technical documentation and user manuals

In addition, preferred requirements include:

  • A Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, Physics or a related field

SLAC Employee Competencies:

  • Effective Decisions: Uses job knowledge and solid judgment to make quality decisions in a timely manner.

  • Self-Development: Pursues a variety of venues and opportunities to continue learning and developing.

  • Dependability: Can be counted on to deliver results with a sense of personal responsibility for expected outcomes.

  • Initiative: Pursues work and interactions proactively with optimism, positive energy, and motivation to move things forward.

  • Adaptability: Flexes as needed when change occurs, maintains an open outlook while adjusting and accommodating changes.

  • Communication: Ensures effective information flow to various audiences and creates and delivers clear, appropriate written, spoken, presented messages.

  • Relationships: Builds relationships to foster trust, collaboration, and a positive climate to achieve common goals.

Physical requirements and working conditions:

  • Consistent with its obligations under the law, the University will provide reasonable accommodation to any employee with a disability who requires accommodation to perform the essential functions of the job.

  • Given the nature of this position, SLAC will require onsite work. The position requires working extended or unusual work schedule nine months of the year.

Work Standards:

  • Interpersonal Skills: Demonstrates the ability to work well with Stanford colleagues and clients and with external organizations.

  • Promote Culture of Safety: Demonstrates commitment to personal responsibility and value for environment, safety and security; communicates related concerns; uses and promotes safe behaviors based on training and lessons learned. Meets the applicable roles and responsibilities as described in the ESH Manual, Chapter 1—General Policy and Responsibilities:

  • Subject to and expected to comply with all applicable University policies and procedures, including but not limited to the personnel policies and other policies found in the University’s Administrative Guide,

  • Classification Title: Staff Engineer3

  • Grade: L Job code: 0133

  • Employment Duration: Continuing

The expected pay range for this position is $140,000 – $207,000 per annum. SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory/Stanford University provides pay ranges representing its good faith estimate of what the university reasonably expects to pay for a position. The pay offered to a selected candidate will be determined based on factors such as (but not limited to) the scope and responsibilities of the position, the qualifications of the selected candidate, departmental budget availability, internal equity, geographic location and external market pay for comparable jobs.

SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory is an Affirmative Action / Equal Opportunity Employer and supports diversity in the workplace. All employment decisions are made without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, marital or family status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or genetic information. All staff at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory must be able to demonstrate the legal right to work in the United States. SLAC is an E-Verify employer.