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Programmable Logic Engineer, Entry Level

Date: Jun 2, 2022

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37830

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 8365 


Join a dynamic and dedicated team of engineers working to build the next generation data processing electronics and software.  Your talent and inspiration will help our group take advantage of the latest advances in re-configurable computing to build out the future of scientific instrumentation.


We are seeking an early career, detail-oriented engineer to focus on developing embedded firmware for programmable logic and processor systems. This position resides in the Data Acquisition Development Group of the Neutron Technologies Division within the Neutron Sciences Directorate at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).  The Spallation Neutron Source (SNS) and the High-Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR) are world-leading facilities producing neutrons for science.  We are a diverse, international, and inclusive community of engineers, laborers, scientists, trade workers and administrators all working together to discover what remains unknown about how our world and the universe we live in works.


As part of our research team, you will design and program embedded systems composed of field programmable gate array (FPGA) devices. You will work closely with other group members and interface with members of the Detector Development and Data Acquisition Integration Groups.  You will have the opportunity to collaborate with the system architects in the Data Acquisition Development Group, as well as builders at other international facilities and the scientific user community.


Major Duties/Responsibilities: 

  • Develop firmware and embedded software for high-speed multi-gigabit and terabit data acquisition electronic systems composed of FPGA and network interfaces.
  • Use continuous integration systems for programmable logic designs and verification of logic interfaces.
  • Test, troubleshoot and maintain modular firmware.
  • Collaborate with group members and scientific staff in the successful operation of currently installed and newly developed systems.
  • Provide documentation and training on the electronic systems in use. 
  • Maintain design files and software code in a central repository using a version control system.
  • Develop and use software quality assurance procedures.
  • Provide operational support for the production science instruments using these electronic systems.  The position is typical office hours, but some off-hours/weekend support is required to support the 24/7 operational needs of the user facility.
  • Maintain a strong commitment to the implementation and perpetuation of laboratory values and ethics.
  • Ensure and monitor compliance with environment, safety, health, and quality program requirements.  Promptly identify ESH and QA issues and communicate them to project and division management, ESH and QA contacts, and/or subcontractor contacts as appropriate.
  • As a member of the ORNL scientific community, you will be expected to commit to ORNL's Research Code of Conduct.  Our full code of conduct, and a statement by the Lab Director's office can be found here:


Basic Qualifications:

  • A Bachelor’s degree in engineering, physics, or a related discipline.
  • Experience with design and implementation of programmable logic on embedded systems.
  • Competency with the Very High-Level Definition Language (VHDL) or Verilog.
  • Demonstrated success in working with a multi-disciplinary team in a dynamic environment.
  • Experience with collaborative development tools (version control, issue tracking, task-based workflow, and documentation).
  • Experience with continuous integration and verification workflows.


Preferred Qualifications:

  • A Master’s degree in computer engineering, signal processing or very large-scale integrated circuits.
  • Experience with product development for embedded electronic systems, preferably using Xilinx silicon.
  • Mastery of VHDL to include input/output buffer specification, timing constraints and timing closure.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills along with the ability to work and communicate effectively with teams of scientists, engineers, and technicians.
  • Engagement in open-source collaboration, with examples of work on GitHub or other code sharing platform.
  • Motivated self-starter with the ability to work independently and to participate creatively in collaborative teams across the laboratory. 
  • Ability to function well in a fast-paced research environment, set priorities to accomplish multiple tasks within deadlines, and adapt to ever changing needs.


About Neutron Sciences Directorate:
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 30 instruments for neutron scattering research, each year carrying out in excess of 1,000 experiments in the physical, chemical, materials, biological and medical sciences for more than 3,000 visiting scientists.  HFIR also provides unique facilities for isotope production and neutron irradiation.  To learn more about Neutron Sciences at ORNL go to


Letters of Recommendation: Final candidates may be required to submit letters of recommendation.





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), Adobe (unsecured .pdf), Rich Text Format (.rtf), and HTML (.htm, .html) up to 5MB 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.

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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.

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