There are two national key disciplines in the department, which referred to as Optical Engineering and Instrument Science and Engineering. Besides, they both rank top in the national first-level discipline assessment. The department has State Key Laboratory of Precision Measurement Technology and Instruments, State Key Laboratory of Precision Space-time Information Sensing Technology, Optical Memory National Engineering Research Center, Key Laboratory of Intelligent Microsystems by Ministry of Education, Key Laboratory of High Precision Navigation Technology by Ministry of Education, Key Laboratory of Photon Measurement Technology by Ministry of Education, Beijing Laboratory of Biomedical Detection Technology and Instrument, Brain-inspired Computing Research Center , Micro and Nano Technology Research Center.

The goal of scientific research in the department is to serve for the national economy and to track the development frontier of science and technology in the world. The department takes on near 100 projects per year, covering The National Key R&D Special Program, The Key R&D Plan, The Key Scientific Instrument Development Programs of China, National Natural Science Fund Program and other technological development program. The research and development of semiconductor equipments such as step repeat automatic camera, pattern generator, lithography machine and EB exposure machine were made by Department of Precision Instrument in the 1970s. Among these equipments, step repeat automatic camera has been applied to over 100 factories and received praises. Many kinds of disk test instruments have been developed to serve the development of national electronic industry. During the period of “the 7th Five-Year Plan” and “the 8th Five-Year Plan”, CD-MO technology research with light/ heating effect won the second prize of National Invention Award. During the period of “the 9th Five-Year Plan” and “the 10th Five-Year Plan”, micro and nano technology made world-class research results, the scientific research funds increases significantly and 7 national awards were obtained, which refer to 4 times of National Award For Technological Invention and 3 times of National Award For Progress in Science and Technology. In recent years, our country's first micro-satellite and first nano satellite were successfully developed, during the "11th  Five Year Plan" and "12th  Five Year Plan", our department won 7 National Science and technology awards, including 5 second prizes of the National Technological Invention Award and 2 second prizes of National Award for Progress in Science and Technology. During the "13th  Five Year Plan", our department has won 1 second-class National Technical Invention Award, 1 first-class Technical Invention Award of the Ministry of Education, 3 second-class Technical Invention and Natural Science Awards of the Ministry of Education, Beijing first prize of the Science and Technology Award; 1 International Science and Technology Cooperation Award, 1 National Innovation Award, the teachers and students of the whole department have published a number of high-level papers in academic journals and conferences at home and abroad. The number of invention patents authorized by the state has soared, and the achievement of achievement transformation is gratifying. Amount of scientific research funding has grown rapidly, Major national tasks have gradually become the mainstream of scientific research, and the transformation of scientific and technological achievements and social and economic benefits are significant.

Department of Precision Instrument has attached great importance to domestic and international academic exchanges, kept in close contact and cooperation with many famous foreign universities and research institutions, organized several international conferences and hosted a number of national conferences.