The high frequency engineering research was founded in KIT (at the time known as the Technical University of Karlsruhe) in 1887/88 with the purpose of conducting the experiments of Heinrich Hertz in the research of the properties of electromagnetic waves in the frequency range of 50-500 MHz. 70 years later in 1958, two institutes were established – the ‘Institut für Hochfrequenztechnik und Hochfrequenzphysik’ (today known as the Institute of Photonics and Quantum electronics, IPQ) and the ‘Institut für Höchstfrequenztechnik und Elektronik’ (known now as ‘Institut für Hochfrequenztechnik und Elektronik’, IHE).
The first research area for both of the institutes were the noise in vacuum tubes and MASER amplifiers, which were later replaced by parametric radio frequency amplifiers and varactor diodes. The first director of IHE was Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Helmut Friedburg. After his retirement (as an Emeritus Professor) in 1981, he was succeeded temporarily by Prof. Hans Joachim Blasberg. From 1983 to 2007, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Dr. h.c. Dr.-Ing. E.h. Werner Wiesbeck led the IHE onwards as its director and is succeeded by Prof. Dr.-Ing. Thomas Zwick, who is now the current director since October 2007. IHE is also known by an official English name since 2015 as Institute of Radio Frequency Engineering and Electronics (IHE).
Today IHE conduct researches in fields of antennas, integrated high-speed circuits, millimeter wave systems, radar technology and wireless communication.