The Energetic and Relativistic Nuclei and Electron (ERNE) experiment will investigate the solar atmosphere and the heliosphere by detecting particles produced in various kinds of energy release processes. ERNE is at the upper end in energy among the SOHO particle instruments. The instrument will measure the energy spectra of elements in the range Z=1–30. The energy coverage varies dependent on the particle species from a few MeV/n up to a few hundred MeV/n and electrons from 2 to 50 MeV. At high energies, ERNE records also the direction of the incident particles for accurate measurements of the pitch angle distribution of the ambient flux within the viewing cone. Especially the isotope identification capability has been one of the instrument design goals, thus providing new data regarding various fundamental questions in solar physics.