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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Chris Quigg (Fermilab): ‘Een grotere versneller levert altijd iets op’

Should we build an even bigger particle accelerator, as the successor of the LHC accelerator at CERN? For Chris Quigg, an influential theoretical physicist at Fermilab in the US, there is no question about that. ‘A bigger accelerator will always yield results’, he says during a work visit to Nikhef in Amsterdam. (Dutch only)



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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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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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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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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Background: Cosmic rays

Auger observatory: 20 years of observing Mother Nature's super accelerator

It is as big as the province of South Holland and is made up of hundreds of measuring stations on the Pampa: the Pierre Auger observatory for cosmic rays in the province of Mendoza in Argentina. This year the observatory has been open for 20 years. (Dutch only)

Technical groups at 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.

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

11 November 2019

Auger-observatorium: 20 jaar kijken in de superversneller van Moeder Natuur

Het is zo groot als de provincie Zuid-Holland en omvat op de pampa honderden meetstations: het Pierre Auger-observatorium voor kosmische straling in de provincie Mendoza in Argentinië. Dit…

6 November 2019

CERN-directeur Fabiola Gianotti krijgt tweede termijn

Fabiola Gianotti, de huidige algemeen directeur van deeltjeslab CERN in Genève, krijgt een tweede termijn. Dat heeft de CERN-raad woensdagochtend bekend gemaakt. De Italiaanse deeltjesfysicus Gianotti was in…

5 November 2019

Chris Quigg (Fermilab): ‘Een grotere versneller levert altijd iets op’

Moet er een nog grotere deeltjesversneller komen, als opvolger voor de LHC-versneller op CERN? Voor Chris Quigg, een invloedrijk theoreticus van Fermilab in de VS, staat dat buiten…

Future events

13 November 2019

Chasing Einstein: film met introductie en interview met Nikhef-onderzoeker Jacco de Vries

De ontdekking van Einstein dat de overgrote meerderheid van de zwaartekracht wordt veroorzaakt door een onbekende, onzichtbare vorm van materie (‘dark matter’) is al meer dan 100 jaar…
14 November / 16 November 2019

20 jaar Pierre Auger observatorium

Viering van de twintigste verjaardag van de grootste detector ter wereld voor kosmische straling, het Pierre Auger Observatory in Malargüe, Argentinië. Beginnend met een tweedaags symposium over ultrahoog-energetische…
16 December / 17 December 2019

Jamboree 2019

More information (theme, timetable etc.) will follow soon.