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Lab facilities and protocols

Leiden University has high-quality research facilities for education and research. Almost all facilities, laboratories and equipment including availability, conditions and contact persons are listed online.

See the overview of research facilities.

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You need to follow the rules that apply when working in or around a laboratory. You will find more information under your Faculty tab. If you haven't already, please log in or select your unit from the drop-down menu at the top of this page to retrieve information (if available) from your organisational unit.

In this section you can find our protocols for collecting physiological data and information about the available equipment at the FSW.

Protocols for collecting physiological data

FSW researchers use equipment to measure heart-, brain- and muscle-responses. For some types of research they collect blood or saliva samples.

Physiological measurement methods

An electrocardiogram measures the electrical activity of the heart muscle by using electrodes placed on the skin. These electrodes detect the small electrical changes that are a consequence of cardiac muscle depolarization followed by repolarization during each cardiac cycle (heartbeat).

When you measure electrodermal activity (EDA - also known as galvinic skin response (GSR) or skin conductance level (SCL)), you are measuring how ‘well’ the skin conducts electricity. Often the skin will conduct electricity better during states of high arousal.

EEG measures the electrical activity in the brain. More specifically, it measures the sum of all post-synaptic potentials of the neurons in the cerebral cortex. This signal is very weak and is therefore measured in microvolt (µV). 

Facial electromyography (EMG) is a psychophysiological technique used to measure electrical potential generated by facial muscles. As the activity of certain facial muscles has been associated with emotional expression, facial EMG can be used to index variance in the valance of emotional expression.

ICG measures the electrical impedance (resistance) of the blood in the thorax (chest), specifically in the aorta. This impedance depends on the blood levels in the aorta. Every heartbeat shows a change in impedance. When blood levels are high (directly after the opening of the aorta valve in the heart) the impedance is low. The ICG signal (Z(t)), as well as its derivative (dZ/dt) are used to calculate various hemodynamic parameters, such as stroke volume, cardiac output, and the pre-ejection period. 

Collecting and storing human tissues

Guidelines and methods for saliva collection depend on the type of research. Please consult the literature and always confirm with your supervisor which guidelines are to be followed. Should these deviate from the FSW protocol you should discuss this beforehand with the research technicians at SOLO.

Please note, venepuncture is only allowed at the LUMC and after approval of a CCMO-accredited ethics committee.

Every researcher who will be taking blood from participants must be adequately trained to take blood independently, so as to ensure the safety not only of the participant but also that of the member of staff. 

Before researchers can independently collect blood samples, they must be able to show proof of competence in the form of the “Checklist for assessment of practical skills: venepuncture”. If they do not have this, they must complete a training course. 

Supplements and scent research

Within the FSW it is possible to carry out research in which nutritional supplements are administered to participants (e.g. L-dopa, oxytocin, or Tyrosine). When a study involves high doses of supplements, medicines, or psychotropic substances it is possible that it cannot take place in the FSW but will have to be moved to the LUMC. Medicines can only be administered in collaboration with the pharmacy.

Research involving scent can be carried out in many ways. It is important to have a discussion with the lab coordinator/SOLO Research and Lab Support before the start of the study to establish whether the type of study planned is suitable for the lab. Smells that linger in the lab could compromise subsequent studies.


Finding equipment

The Institute of Education and Child Studies, the Institute of Psychology and SOLO Research and Lab Support already own a lot of equipment. You can check with your lab coordinator if your needed equipment is available in your research group. If not, your lab coordinator can contact SOLO Research and Lab Support about the possibilities to borrow from SOLO or other departments.

Purchasing equipment

When equipment is not available, or you need it for a longer period new equipment has to be ordered via SOLO Research and Lab Support. When you have funding and approval of the budget holder your lab coordinator can place the order at SOLO. SOLO always checks the safety certificates before ordering.

Operating equipment

Before you start working with of the equipment you must ensure that you know how to operate the device and how to connect the participant to it. You must also know what the signal should look like, so you can check the signal and do some adjustments before starting high quality data collection. The head researcher and lab coordinator are responsible for ensuring that researchers are sufficiently competent to carry out the research.

Physiological data acquisition

Biopac physiological acquisition equipment is available. Biopac offers a great variety of modules, like ECG, ICG, EDA, EMG in wired or wireless configuration.

VU-AMS 5fs equipment for ambulatory physiological data acquisition is available. The VU-AMS is suitable for 24hours data logging of ECG, ICG and SCL.

Two CNAP Continuous non-invasive blood pressure monitors (CNIPM) are part of the Biopac setup in lab SB04.

The Finometer® Model-2 is a non-invasive instrument to measure blood pressure in the finger of a human subject. It is part of the Biopac setup in lab 1B27.

BioSemi EEG equipment is installed in EEG labs SB12, SB14, SB35 and SB39, varying from 32 to 128 channels. Caps are available in various sizes and in different 10/20 or ABC-layout. The amplifiers are connected to the stimulus PC and response buttons for time accurate synchronization.

Eye tracking

Various types of Tobii eye trackers are available: T120, X3-60 and X3-120. You can use these with various types of software like Tobii studio, E-Prime, OpenSesame etc.

EyeLink eye trackers from SR Research are available in 1000 and 2000Hz. We have a licence to use these eye trackers with SR Research Experiment Builder, but you can also use them with E-Prime, OpenSesame, Matlab etc.


SOLO supports the Digitimer DS5 and DS7A stimulators. Both devices can be triggered from within E-prime, OpenSesame etc.

Thermal pain stimulation equipment is available from Medoc. Two 2x Tsa-2 and a Pathway can be used.

Virtual reality

Researchers increasingly use virtual reality to create virtual situations in experiments. SOLO Research and Lab Support can order and/or install virtual reality hardware in the labs. However, software support is limited.

The faculty owns a number of standalone VR glasses from Lenovo and Oculus. Also, Vive VR equipment with or without eye tracker is available. You can check with your lab coordinator if your needed VR equipment is available in your research group. If not, your lab coordinator can contact SOLO Research and Lab Support about the possibilities to borrow from other departments.

MRI Scanner

The Leiden Institute for Brain and Cognition (LIBC) hosts an MRI scanner dedicated to research. FSW researchers are welcome to use this scanner. The 3.0 tesla Philips achieva scanner is situated at the ground floor of the Leiden University Medical Center, department of Radiology.

MRI is ideally suited for real-time monitoring of ongoing brain activity. The LIBC MRI scanner is equipped with all necessary facilities to perform MRI studies suited to answer a broad range of cognitive neuroscientific research questions. For example, you can use the MRI compatible headphones for auditory stimulation and the BOLD screen to present high quality visual stimuli inside the scanner. Button response boxes can be used to record manual responses during scanning. 

More facilities

Close to the MRI scanner two interview rooms are available for pre- and post-testing of your participants. Collected MRI data can be uploaded to the advanced computational infrastructure for neuroimaging analyses. The LUMC also hosts a special dummy scanner. This scanner is mainly used to familiarize children with the research setting.


The LIBC support team can provide expertise in all phases of your project. You will be extensively trained for safe and independent use of the LIBC MRI research equipment. 

COVID-19 protocols

During these times of COVID-19 researchers using the MRI scanner must abide by our COVID-19 protocol. Please e-mail LIBC (supportlibc@lumc.nl) for the most recent version and more information.

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