Large segmented mirrors require efficient co-phasing techniques in order to avoid the image degradation due to segments misalignment. For this purpose in the last few years new co-phasing techniques have been developed in collaboration with several European institutes. The Active Phasing Experiment (APE) will be a technical instrument aimed at testing different phasing techniques for an Extremely Large Telescope (ELT). A mirror composed of 61 hexagonal segments will be conjugated to the primary mirror of the VLT (Very Large Telescope). Each segment can be moved in piston, tip and tilt. Three new types of co-phasing sensors dedicated to the measurement of segmentation errors will be tested, evaluated and compared: ZEUS (Zernike Unit for Segment phasing) developed by LAM and IAC, PYPS (PYramid Phase Sensor) developed by INAF/ARCETRI, and DIPSI (Diffraction Image Phase Sensing Instrument) developed by IAC, GRANTECAN and LAM. This experiment will first run in the laboratory with point-like polychromatic sources and a turbulence generator. In a second step, it will be mounted at the Nasmyth platform focus of a VLT unit telescope. This paper describes the scientific concept of DIPSI, its optomechanical design, the signal analysis to retrieve segment piston and tip-tilt, the multiwavelength algorithm to increase the capture range, and the multiple segmentation case, including both simulation and laboratory tests results.© (2006) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.