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.

View project

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.

View projects
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%).


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.

View projects

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.

View project

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.

View project
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.


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.

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.
Lees meer >>

Please note that some of the content on our homepage and further pages has not been translated into English yet.

Recent news

10 September 2020

New 400 Gbit dataline tested for future CERN link

On SURF’s fiber optic network, equipment for a new super-fast data highway has been being tested in the Randstad conurbation for several weeks now. This new highway should…

Einstein telescope graphicEinstein telescope graphic
10 September 2020

Plan to build Einstein Telescope submitted for European research roadmap

Supported by the Netherlands, Belgium, Poland and Spain, the Italian government submitted an application on Wednesday to include the Einstein Telescope in a European roadmap for major research…

2 September 2020

Virgo and LIGO detect a new kind of black hole

An astrophysical first for gravitational wave detectors Virgo and LIGO. The detector in Italy and the two detectors in the US have found direct evidence of the existence…

Future events

3 October 2020

Cancelled: Open Day Amsterdam Science Park 2020

In 2020, the Open Day of the Amsterdam Science Park, in which Nikhef always participates, will be canceled. Every year, the Open Day is the perfect opportunity to…