Particle Physics

In particle physics, very large detectors are used to study elementary particles. Particles such as protons are accelerated in a particle accelerator, and made to collide with each other. The detectors record these collisions, which release a lot of energy to create new particles. Nikhef is active in ALICE, ATLAS and LHCb at CERN and eEDM in Groningen.

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Programme spotlight

XENONnT: Dark matter

Of all matter in our Universe, only about 5% consists of ‘ordinary matter’ as we commonly know it, built up from atoms. This is what all stars, planets and other visible materials are made up from. However, no less than 95% consists of dark energy (68%) and dark matter (27%).


Physics Data Processing

Advanced computing for physics and other sciences. Nikhef researchers are mainly developing increasingly better grid software, and transferring their grid knowledge, so that  scientists who are struggling with an ‘impossible’ data problem can profit from the grid.

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Nikhef rules regarding visitors

At the moment Nikhef is open only to a limited extent due to precautionary measures taken to minimise the spread of the coronavirus. External visitors can only access the building by invitation and accompanied by a Nikhef employee.


Detector R&D

Answering big elementary particle physics questions requires pioneering experiments. The Detector R&D program at Nikhef is aimed at conceptualizing and testing of instrumentation concepts before they are implemented in scientific programs at Nikhef.

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Nikhef’s Theoretical Physics group performs theoretical research on a wide range of fundamental topics in high-energy physics, ranging from particle and astroparticle physics to cosmology, gravitational waves and string theory.

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Technische afdelingen Nikhef

Mechanical technology

The Mechanical Technology (MT) department is made up of approximately 30 MBO-, HBO- and University schooled technical engineers. The main task of the department is to develop, design and realise mechanical solutions for the mostly international projects that Nikhef participates in.


Astroparticle physics

Astroparticle physics combines physics and astronomy. In the cosmos, very strong magnetic fields create what can be considered a ‘natural’ particle accelerator. To perform astrophysics research, scientists ‘just’ need to build the right detectors. Nikhef is active in KM3NeT, Auger, XENON1T/nT and Virgo.

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National Institute for Subatomic Physics

Welcome to Nikhef. We are the Dutch National Institute for Subatomic Physics. Our institute performs research into the elementary building blocks of our Universe, their mutual forces and the structure of space and time.
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Please note that some of the content on our homepage and further pages has not been translated into English yet.

Recent news

14 July 2020

INTERVIEW ‘Snaartheorie geeft geen uniek antwoord, en dat is goed nieuws’

Theoretisch natuurkundige Bert Schellekens had gedacht dat hij voor zijn pensioen wel antwoorden zou hebben. Antwoorden op de vraag of snaartheorie de deeltjeswereld kan verklaren. ‘Maar daar ziet…

Hal ETpathfinder met betonnen vloerHal ETpathfinder met betonnen vloer
13 July 2020

Concrete floor poured for ETpathfinder

A new step for ETpathfinder: last week the concrete floor was poured into the hall of Duboisdomein 30 in Maastricht. The floor has been designed in such a…

13 July 2020

Op CERN gaan de eerste versnellers weer aan de slag

Sinds de eerste week van juli komen op CERN de eerste voorversnellers van de Large Hadron Collider weer voorzichtig in bedrijf na anderhalf jaar sluiting voor onderhoud en…

Future events

3 October 2020

Cancelled: Open Day Amsterdam Science Park 2020

(Article in Dutch only) In 2020 gaat de Open Dag van het Amsterdam Science Park waar Nikhef altijd aan deelneemt niet door. Elk jaar is de Open Dag…