Research Laboratory of Electronics

The Research Laboratory of Electronics (RLE) was founded in 1946 as the first of the Institute's great modern interdepartmental research centers. Today, it is one of MIT's largest, as well as the most diverse in intellectual interests.

RLE research is focused on seven major themes:

  • Atomic physics
  • Information science and systems
  • Quantum computation and communication
  • Energy, power, and electromagnetics
  • Photonic materials, devices, and systems
  • Nanoscale materials, devices, and systems
  • Biomedical science and engineering

Over 70 principal investigators—of whom 64 are MIT faculty members—direct RLE's research projects. These faculty members are drawn from seven MIT departments, including Biological Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Materials Science and Engineering, Mathematics, Mechanical Engineering, Nuclear Science and Engineering, and Physics, and from MIT's Institute for Medical Engineering and Science.

More than 400 MIT graduate and undergraduate students—also drawn from these departments and divisions—make RLE one of the primary environments for student learning at MIT. In fact, it is the combination of forefront research with student participation across multiple academic disciplines that characterizes the RLE culture.

In 2009, the Laboratory for Electromagnetic and Electronic Systems (LEES) was merged into RLE as part of a growing emphasis on energy-related research. Researchers affiliated with LEES are pioneers in understanding, on one hand, the theoretical basis of advanced electrical power and energy applications, and on the other, the component, circuit, and system technologies required to make such applications into practical realities.

RLE's research efforts are supported by the most diverse sponsor base at MIT. Principal sponsors include the Department of Defense, National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, Department of Energy, industry, and nonprofit foundations and organizations.

In addition, a significant share of RLE's activities is self-funded from gifts and from the discretionary resources of the laboratory and its principal investigators. Approximately a third of RLE's activities involves extramural collaborations with universities, institutions, and industry, making the laboratory one of MIT's principal points of connection with peer institutions, government, and the business world.

Nearly all RLE activities take place at MIT's main campus in Cambridge. Some also take place at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary in Boston.

For further information, contact the RLE Headquarters, Room 36-413, 617-253-2519.