12. September 2014 - Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Digital Hardware Engineer
Digital Hardware Engineer
12. September 2014 - Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Digital Hardware Engineer
Digital Hardware Engineer
Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Oak Ridge, Tennessee, USA


The DAQ Digital Hardware Engineer works as part of a team to develop and support custom digital hardware solutions for acquiring data from neutron scattering instruments. This hardware interfaces to neutron detectors (including 3He and scintillating detectors) and other high-speed data systems, and the SNS timing system. The position also provides operational support for the instrument data acquisition systems to ensure reliable and maintainable operations while enhancing the capability and functionality of these systems.

Description of Institution

The Neutron Sciences Directorate (NScD) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) operates the High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR), the United States’ highest flux reactor based neutron source, and the Spallation Neutron Source (SNS), the world’s most intense pulsed accelerator based neutron source. Together these facilities operate 27 instruments for neutron scattering research, each year carrying out in excess of 1,000 experiments in the physical, chemical, materials, biological and medical sciences. HFIR also provides unique facilities for isotope production and neutron irradiation. To learn more about Neutron Sciences at ORNL go to: http://neutrons.ornl.gov.

Job description

Major Duties/Responsibilities

  • Support the scientific mission of the SNS by designing, developing, supporting, maintaining and troubleshooting electronics for neutron instrument data acquisition to ensure efficient and reliable operations.
  • Perform full life cycle development of custom circuit board designs. Implement FPGA designs for custom and commercial-off-the-shelf systems.
  • Translate system performance and operational specification into hardware requirements, design documents, and test specifications.
  • Provide documentation and user training. Ensure consistent and properly documented system configuration using appropriate configuration control processes. Maintain code and designs in a central repository utilizing a version control system. Develop and utilize testing procedures.
  • Provide operational support for the instrument data acquisition and control systems. The position is typical office hours, but some off-hours and weekend support is required to support the 24/7 operational needs of the SNS.
  • Contribute ideas, designs and solutions towards the development of ongoing upgrades to the instrument data acquisition and control system for the SNS.
  • As appropriate, publish papers or reports, and represent SNS at conferences and/or workshops. Some domestic and/or foreign travel may be required to support collaborations or attend conferences or workshops.
  • Ensure compliance with environmental, safety, health and quality program requirements.
  • Maintain a strong commitment to the implementation and perpetuation of values and ethics.
  • Perform tasks which are moderately physically demanding, such as climbing stairs, walking throughout a large facility, and occasionally lifting and carrying items weighing up to 25 lbs.

Measures of Effectiveness

  • Responsiveness to support needs of instrument and facility operations
  • Performance, functionality, efficiency, reliability, maintainability and usability of data acquisition system
  • Responsiveness to special assignments in support of changing scientific needs, project management directives, project changes, and project reviews
  • Produces documentation
  • Follows proper configuration control processes
  • Works effectively in a diverse team environment
  • Takes initiative and performs work independently

Requested Profile

Qualifications Required

  • Bachelor’s degree in Electrical / Computer Engineering or related field and four years of applicable experience, or an equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Digital circuit design experience with embedded hardware systems from conceptual planning through test and integration.
  • A solid working knowledge of programmable logic devices and FPGA development experience, preferably with VHDL on
    Xilinx and/or Altera FPGA families. Experience in achieving timing closure with FPGA designs.
  • Experience with ModelSim or Active-HDL simulation tools.
  • Skilled at troubleshooting, debugging and testing at the component level and integrated system level.
  • Good written and verbal communication skills with ability to communicate effectively with scientists, engineers and technicians, scientists, and engineers.

Employment is contingent upon the results of a pre-employment physical exam and drug screen which must be administered and cleared before employment can begin.

Candidates must be able to build relationships with customers, understand customer needs and translate customer’s problems into best-fit architectures, as well as generate customer confidence through presentations and targeted demonstrations that show solution feasibility.

Qualifications Desired

  • An advanced degree in Electrical / Computer Engineering or related field, or additional experience is desirable and may be reflected in the hiring compensation band.
  • An understanding of system design tradeoffs for architecture partitioning with Embedded Processing and Real-Time system control.
  • Experience with digital communication protocols.
  • Experience with collaborative team hardware and software development using version control and configuration control management systems.
  • Experience working in a scientific research environment is desirable. Knowledge of scientific data acquisition, radiation detection, or neutron detectors is beneficial.

How to Apply

This position will remain open for a minimum of 5 days after which it will close when a qualified candidate is identified and/or hired.

We accept Word(.doc, .docx), Excel(.xls, .xlsx), PowerPoint(.ppt, .pptx), Adobe(.pdf), Rich Text Format(.rtf), HTML and text files(.txt) up to 2MB in size. Resumes from third party vendors will not be accepted; these resumes will be deleted and the candidates submitted will not be considered for employment.

If you have trouble applying for a position, please email

Notice: If the position requires a Security Clearance, reviews and tests for the absence of any illegal drug as defined in 10 CFR 707.4 will be conducted by the employer and a background investigation by the Federal government may be required to obtain an access authorization prior to employment and subsequent reinvestigations may be required.

If the position is covered by the Counterintelligence Evaluation Program regulations at 10 CFR 709, a counterintelligence evaluation may include a counterintelligence-scope polygraph examination.

ORNL is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants, including individuals with disabilities and protected veterans, are encouraged to apply. UT-Battelle is an E-Verify Employer.

30. October 2014
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