Nikhef is an Institute that is part of NWO-I, the Institutes Organisation of NWO.
The current mission of the Institute for Subatomic Physics Nikhef is to study the interactions and structure of all elementary particles and fields at the smallest distance scale and the highest attainable energy.
Two complementary approaches are followed:
- accelerator-based particle physics - Studying interactions in particle collision processes at particle accelerators, in particular at CERN;
- astroparticle physics - Studying interactions of particles and radiation emanating from the Universe.
Nikhef coordinates and leads the Dutch experimental activities in these fields. The research at Nikhef relies on the development of innovative technologies. The knowledge and technology transfer to third parties, i.e., industry, civil society and general public, is an integral part of Nikhef's mission.
National Institute for Subatomic Physics Nikhef is a collaboration between NWO-I (formerly FOM), Radboud University, University of Groningen, Utrecht University, University of Amsterdam and VU University Amsterdam.
The Institute for Subatomic Physics is participating in three of the four big experiments (ATLAS, LHCb and ALICE) at the LHC (Large Hadron Collider) particle accelerator at CERN. The institute is making important scientific and technological contributions to these experiments. Via the institute, Dutch companies have also contributed to the construction of the LHC. With the measurements from the LHC, in July 2012 researchers announced the discovery of a new particle, that looks like the long sought higgs particle. They also hope to make other discoveries that could signify a breakthrough for our understanding of the mysterious asymmetry between matter and antimatter in the universe.
In addition to this the institute is involved in four projects in the field of astroparticle physics. The neutrino telescope ANTARES in the Mediterranean Sea is capable of observing light traces that are caused by neutrinos, which have first of all passed through the earth. Nikhef is also an important partner in constructing the successor of ANTARES, the much bigger KM3NET detector with the aim to discover neutrino sources in the Universe. In the west of Argentina, the Pierre Auger Observatory registers extremely energetic particles from the universe. With the experiment VIRGO in Italy the institute is exploring research into gravity waves, and with the XENON detector in the Gran Sasso underground laboratory in Italy direct searches for Dark Matter are pursued. All of the research lines are supported within the institute by high-quality theoretical research, groundbreaking detector R&D and the development of powerful calculation and processing techniques, which are being developed with the help of GRID technology.
The scientific staff numbers some 120 physicists. Half of these are PhDs or postdocs. The departments of Mechanics, Electronics, and Information Technology provide the necessary technical support. These departments employ about 100 staff.
Informaton about Nikhef's mission budget can be found here.
The annual reports of Nikhef
Nikhef on YouTube
How do you search for dark matter, an invisible part of the universe?
The partners in the Nikhef partnership realise a coordinated, joint research programme. This programme and its associated budget together with participation in international collaborations, is established under the responsibility of the overarching Nikhef board.
The board has the following members:
prof.dr. C.C.A.M. Gielen (NWO)
dr.ir. C.L.A. Hooijer (NWO)
prof.dr. L.M.C. Buydens (RU)
prof.dr. P.H. van Tienderen (VU)
prof.dr. G.F.B.P. van der Meer (UU)
prof.dr. J. Knoester (RUG)
prof.dr. A.Th. Schreiber (VU)
drs. J.K. de Kleuver (NWO)
Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) as of 31 December 2014
A Scientific Advisory Committee has been appointed for the partnership. This has the following members:
F. Gianotti (CERN, Geneva)
N. Glover (IPPP, Durham)
J. Mnich (DESY, Hamburg)
T. Nakada (EPFL, Lausanne)
A. Rubbia (chair, ETH, Zurich)
J. Schukraft (CERN, Geneva)
C. Spiering (DESY Zeuthen, Berlin)
Prof.dr. S.C.M. Bentvelsen
Communications adviser Nikhef
Nikhef at YouTube
Particle & astroparticle physics at Nikhef