Research institutes department of Physics

Institute for Gravitational and Subatomic Physics

At the Institute for Gravitational and Subatomic Physics we conduct fundamental experimental research into the building blocks of matter and the various forces acting on them. We are part of the ALICE experiment at the CERN's Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in Geneva (Switzerland) and we closely collaborate with the Nikhef institute in Amsterdam.

Debye Institute for Nanomaterials Science

At the Debye Institute for Nanomaterials Science, chemistry and physics meet to study the properties of materials at the nanoscale. We specifically focus on three research themes: Catalysis, Colloid Science and Nanophotonics, and apply this fundamental knowledge to achieve a sustainable society with a focus on solar energy. The institute is named in honour of a true pioneer of the physical chemistry and chemical physics field: the Dutch scientist and Nobel laureate Peter Debye (1884-1966).

Institute for Marine and Atmospheric research Utrecht (IMAU)

The mission of the Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research Utrecht (IMAU) is to contribute to the basic knowledge of the oceans, atmosphere, cryosphere and their interactions in the climate system. A mathematical physical approach is combined with field observations and remote sensing data. This knowledge is used in studies on climate change and the possible implications for mankind. To achieve this we try to maintain an open and stimulating research and study environment in which students and staff are inspired to give their best. Education is an essential part of our mission and our researchers are therefore active teachers in the Bachelor's and Master's programmes of our university.

Our research program is build around five themes: Atmospheric Dynamics, in which we focus on the structure of the atmospheric boundary layer and the dynamics of the free atmosphere; Ice and Climate, in which we focus on the role of land ice in the Earth's climate system; Atmospheric Physics and Chemistry, in which the focus lies on the (changes in) chemical composition of the atmosphere and interactions between atmospheric chemistry and the Earth's climate; Oceans and Climate, focussing on understanding and correctly simulating the ocean component of the climate system; and Coastal and Shelf Sea Dynamics, focussing on the interactions between the water motion, sediment transport and bottom changes in coastal seas and estuaries.

Institute for Theoretical Physics

Theoretical physics uses mathematics as a unifying language to describe the origin and structure of matter from (sub)atomic and molecular scales to stars and galaxies. The broadness of topics and outstanding challenges in contemporary theoretical physics are particularly appealing for young students, both at the level of education in the Master's Programme, and during their research career as a PhD candidate.

The research focus at the Institute for Theoretical Physics (ITP) is organised in two themes: the first one is String Theory, Elementary Particles and Cosmology, and the second one is Soft and Hard Condensed-matter Theory. Research topics range from very fundamental issues about the quantum structure of black holes, holography, quantum field theory, cosmology and the early universe, to more applied questions about quantum phases of matter, superconductivity, spintronics, colloids and polymers, and blue energy.