Founding Principles

MTL was launched in 1984 with three founding principles that have served us well over all these years and continue to underpin all our activities.

The first one is the shared nature of the lab resources of MTL. This applied to fabrication equipment in the lab that MTL has operated until recently, but also to computer-aided design tools and process design kits that MTL manages for the benefit of the MIT community at large.

Sharing resources makes it possible for us to afford complex and costly equipment requiring extensive facilities or expensive and sophisticated design software. It also brings us together as a community to learn together, to help each other, to collaborate on serendipitous projects that happen because we hang out together in the lab, in some of our many gatherings or in our social events. We are all better off because of that!

The second founding principle of MTL is the integration of process technology and systems prototyping in the lab activities. Some of us are fascinated by the possibilities that new materials or devices offer and aim to demonstrate this in the fab. But from the very beginning, MTL has included a cadre of colleagues that strive to design and prototype complex systems that take advantage of the latest technologies available around the world, whether at MIT or elsewhere, to provide for new system-level solutions to important problems.

By bringing together under the same roof these two communities with such different goals, we inevitably see possibilities for innovation that we might have missed otherwise. In the end, new devices only reach the world embedded in a complete system. By working at the system level, we identify challenges and opportunities early and our research is that much more effective. You will see many wonderful examples of what this synergism delivers throughout this website.

The third founding principle is a strong linkage with industry in all MTL’s activities. From its very inception, close industry engagement has been a hallmark of MTL. MTL and MIT greatly benefit from the financial support provided by industry. Perhaps more significantly, industry gives us invaluable advice, mentorship and collaborations that help us identify and attack the most relevant problems. In the long tradition of MIT, MTL seeks to contribute towards a better world. Our industrial partners provide us with invaluable guidance in this quest.