Keith E. O'Hara

Galway, Ireland
+353 87 161 9679
+1 925 786 1580

Trained as an experimental physicist, then became a generalist engineer, most recently in diagnostic imagers of the eye. Often the one to either tell people why something is impossible, or make it work.


February 2010 – August 2020 Consulting and Contract Engineering, Pleasanton, California
Recommend optical measurement methods for use in new and revised products.
Coded the scanning, data collection, and image reconstruction for the tomographic imager in the Micron IV small-animal imager. Advised against optical coherence tomography for use in a range-finder, and prototyped optical triangulation instead. Designed a reflector for bicycle headlights. Developed a simplified optical model for variation among human eyes. Designed and prototyped a table-top retinal imager. Reviewed light levels in ophthalmic devices for safety and compliance. Answered technical questions for regulatory clearances.

Carl Zeiss Meditec, Inc., Dublin, California
May 2014 – April 2016 Systems Design Engineer
Led technical development of the Clarus 500 slit-scan retinal imager. Decided on the method of scan, with no moving parts on the imaging path. Chose the location of the focus mechanism in the optical path, and the split-pupil method for autofocus. Secured a supplier for the key component, a digital image sensor that could record a burst of slit-illuminated images. Designed the architecture for control electronics. Defined the testable requirements of the instrument. Influenced choices in implementation, such as the use of a plano surface on the front lens, and the breastplate between instrument and patient. Wrote the code to correct lens-distortion. Mentored the investigation of image artifacts and the redesign to remove them. Supported other projects such as the increase in illumination levels that led to the product Cirrus 6000.
May 2004 – February 2010 Senior Staff Scientist
Proposed and prototyped devices for diagnostic imaging of the human eye, and collaborated in their clinical evaluation. Determined the specifications for spectrometer and image sensor, and wrote the image-reconstruction code, for the optical coherence tomographer Cirrus 4000. Evaluated outside proposals for devices and applications. Prepared patent applications and monitored the intellectual property situation.

February 2004 – April 2004 Systron Donner, Concord, California
Senior Sensor Designer
Designed quartz vibratory gyroscopes using finite element analysis.

November 2000 – May 2003 Integrated Micromachines, Monrovia, California
Senior Staff Scientist
Responsible for electro­magnetic position-sensing and feedback control of MEMS alignment mirrors, and for system integration into a cross-connect for fibre communication. Participated in the specification, design, and testing of mixed-signal custom integrated circuits (ASICs). Developed semi-automated production testing of mirrors and control electronics. Evaluated this MEMS mirror array for use in adaptive optics. Completed the mechanical design and initial analogue and digital electronic architecture for a MEMS/ASIC angular rate sensor. Wrote sections of patent applications, and documentation for electronics, control systems, firmware, and software.

May 1999 – November 2000 Frederick Seitz Materials Research Laboratory, Urbana, Illinois
Scientific Staff in the Laser Facility
Collaborated with laboratory users in the design, execution, and analysis of optical measurements using pulsed lasers. Maintained near state-of-the-art capabilities in standard techniques such as ellipsometry, reflectance, transmittance, time-resolved photo­lumin­escence, Raman scattering, and optical pump-probe measurements. Developed a custom measurement system using ultrafast lasers to generate acoustic pulses in a multi-layer structure, and track their propagation using the optical coherence of the light reflected from acoustic wavefronts. Prepared short courses, presentations, and articles for publication.

May 1994 – April 1999 Department of Physics, University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois
Research Assistant
Joined a project attempting Bose-condensation of electron-hole pairs in the semiconductor cuprite, measuring the energy-distribution of those pairs with time-resolved photo­lumin­escence. Decided to measure the absolute brightness of lumin­escence of the electron-hole pairs, and their rate of luminescence, to determine their density. Found that density to be much too low for Bose-condensation. Modelled the non-equilibrium thermodynamics of the electron-hole pairs to explain the energy distributions that had initially appeared to indicate near-condensation.
August 1990 – May 1994 National Science Foundation Predoctoral Fellow
Member of a tightly collaborative group using pulse-echo nuclear magnetic resonance to determine the mechanism of high-temperature superconductivity. Maintained the digital signal processing equipment and its interface to personal computers. Designed and laid out a circuit board implementing a programmable pulse-sequence generator.
August 1992 – May 1993 Teaching Assistant
Taught laboratory and classroom sections of the introductory physics course for students of the life sciences.

September 1988 – March 1989 Department of Mathematics, the Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio
Student Instructional Aide
Taught classroom sections of an algebra course for non-science majors.

Summer 1988 Department of Materials Science, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
National Science Foundation Undergraduate Research Fellow
Evaluated X-ray diffraction as a quality test for coatings of magnetic storage disks.

April 1988 – June 1988 Department of Physics, the Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio
Laboratory Teaching Assistant
Taught laboratory sections of the introductory physics course for students of the life sciences.


Writes C. Reads and maintains C++, Python, Scheme, LabView.
User of Microsoft and Linux workstations, Matlab, Zemax.
Familiar with SolidWorks, AutoCAD, Ansys, and other analysis tools.


The University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Illinois
Ph.D. in Physics, May 1999. M.S. in Physics, August 1990.
The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio
B.S. in Engineering Physics, specializing in Materials Science.


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