About Us

In 1963, amid life-changing scientific advances, researchers at the University of Illinois were inspired to create the Materials Research Laboratory (MRL). The MRL’s main investors at the Advanced Research Projects Agency and the United States Atomic Energy Commission had great interest in seeing a speedy completion to the building, which would ultimately give professors and students the space and resources to advance their own scientific achievements.

Today, the MRL hosts over 140 instruments valued at over $40 million and continues to foster interdisciplinary research at the forefront of materials science.



Open user access


Worth of tools




Affiliated faculty from across the university


MRL’s external academic researchers exceed 100 scientists from 50 institutions around the world.

MRL’s external industrial researchers are fifty scientists from thirty institutions around the world.

In 2016 there were 1,054 active users with over 95,000 hours of instrument time.

Out of the 1,054 users, 55% were graduate students, 26% were senior researchers, and 19% were undergraduate students.

Machine Shop

The Physics MRL Machine Shop is well-equipped for making special, one-of-a-kind research equipment to order.

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Our storeroom carries a variety of components and fittings.

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IT Support

Technical services for faculty, students and research groups.

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