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.


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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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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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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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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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

13 January 2022

ATLAS experiment spots strange quarks in the colliding proton

In the collisions of protons in the LHC accelerator at CERN, it is not only the up- and down-quarks in the proton that matter, but sometimes heavier quarks…

22 December 2021

Nikhef researcher Ivo van Vulpen professor by special appointment in science communication

As of January 2022, Nikhef researcher Ivo van Vulpen will be appointed as professor by special appointment in science communication at the Leiden Institute of Physics (LION). Van…

21 December 2021

Nikhef wishes you a very happy 2022

Directors and staff of the National Institute for Subatomic Physics Nikhef wish you a happy and joyful year 2022. The institute is closed from december 27th 2021 until…

Future events

25 January / 26 January 2022

Physics@Veldhoven (online)

Physics @ Veldhoven takes place each year in January. It is a large congress that provides a topical overview of physics in the Netherlands. Traditionally, young researchers are…
9 May / 10 May 2022

Nikhef Annual Scientific meeting – Jamboree 2021 (postponed to 2022)

We are happy to announce that our Nikhef Jamboree will take place on Monday 9 and Tuesday May 1oth 2022. The meeting will be hosted by the University…