The origins of the Institute date back to 1929, when Professor Janusz Groszkowski took over the Radio Engineering Division at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering. In its current form, the Institute has existed since 1970. Then, as a result of the merger of three Divisions - Solid State Electronics Division, Electronic Devices Division and High Vacuum Division - the Institute of Electron Technology was created, which in 1987 changed its name to the Institute of Microelectronics and Optoelectronics.

The Institute is located in two buildings: the Electronics Building and the Electrical Engineering Building, where the Faculty of Communication (currently the Faculty of Electronics and Information Technology) began its operations in 1951. Nowadays, the Electrical Engineering Building is the location of the Institute's Technology Center, which consists of laboratories specialized in silicon processing (clean-room), hybrid technologies and assembly techniques, optical fibers, integrated optoelectronics, laser optoelectronics and characterization of new electronic and photonic materials.

The Institute conducts research in the field of technologies constituting the basis of modern electronics and information technology. The development of information technology may be viewed through the prism of four related technologies: data processing, transmission, storage and presentation. In the field of data processing, the observed impressive progress is possible mainly due to rapid development of technologies for designing and manufacturing integrated circuits, i.e., microelectronics, and increasingly also nanoelectronics. Data transfer, which includes fiber optics and laser, and therefore optoelectronics and photonics. Storing an exponentially growing amount of data requires more and more capacious memories, both semiconductor-based as well as optical. This is where microelectronics and optoelectronics are used. Data presentation requires not only various optical systems (optoelectronics), but also appropriate image processing techniques. The development of electronics, which many years ago resulted in the emergence of integrated circuits, is now heading towards systems on a structure, as well as to microsystems integrating knowledge from the fields of materials technology, microelectronics, optoelectronics and photonics. The Institute of Microelectronics and Optoelectronics, to various extent, operates in each of these areas.

The Institute consists of 4 divisions: