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.


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.


Two new lines of neutrino detector KM3NeT submerged and they are already working

The two new detector lines that have been sunk to 2.5 kilometer depth in the Mediterranean Sea in France, have already detected their first passing particles. In total 6 active detector lines with 18 DOMs (detector units) each now reach a kilometer high from the seabed.


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%).


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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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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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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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

1 July 2020

LHCb-experiment werpt licht op veelbesproken tetraquarks

De meeste bouwstenen van de materie zijn gebouwd uit twee of drie stevig met elkaar verbonden quarks, maar heel soms kunnen dat er ook vier zijn, of eventueel…

29 June 2020

CERN/Nikhef teach the world how to set clocks to the nanosecond

June 29, 2020 The international engineering organisation IEEE has adopted a CERN technique for synchronizing clock signals as an industry standard. This White Rabbit technique, after the rabbit…

23 June 2020

Primeur: Virgo en LIGO zagen “verboden” object versmelten met zwart gat

Op 14 augustus 2019 registreerden de Virgo-detector in Italie en de LIGO-detectoren in de VS een krachtige zwaartekrachtsgolf die astronomen nu voor een raadsel stelt. Een van de…

BLOG Lex Greeven: Voor het eerst weer een vrijmibo in het echt

LHCb-promovendus Lex Greeven houdt een tweewekelijks weblog bij over zijn werk binnen het experiment en over zichzelf, thuis vanwege de coronacrisis. Deze week: eindelijk weer een vrijmibo, op 1.5 meter...

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