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Module Specifications..

Current Academic Year 2023 - 2024

Please note that this information is subject to change.

Module Title Physics of Medical Diagnostics
Module Code PS429
School School of Physical Sciences
Module Co-ordinatorSemester 1: Jean-Paul Mosnier
Semester 2: Jean-Paul Mosnier
Autumn: Jean-Paul Mosnier
Module TeachersJean-Paul Mosnier
NFQ level 8 Credit Rating 5
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None
Repeat examination

This module aims to give the student a working knowledge of the main topics of physics in diagnostic and radiation based therapies. Furthermore, the research paper assignment will promote oral presentation skills and skills in searching the literature.

Learning Outcomes

1. The student will have detailed knowledge of the fundamental physical principles underpinning the main medical diagnostic techniques: x-ray radiography, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) imaging, gamma-ray PET-CT imaging and ultrasound imaging. The student will be able to write down the fundamental equations underlying these techniques and solve numerical problems based on these equations.
2. Detailed knowledge of the experimental techniques and modern technologies used to routinely carry out x-ray, PET-CT, NMR and ultrasound imaging diagnostics. The knowledge of all the essential orders of magnitude of the machine parameters (currents, voltages, power, relaxation times, exposure times, etc...) will be considered essential.
3. Critically analyze the calculations to determine if the results are reasonable for human function.
4. Source research papers on a particular topic and summarize the work presented (CA)
5. Demonstrate oral communication skills (CA)

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Tutorial4In class tutorial assignments
Assignment Completion15Project work
Assignment Completion15Project presentation
Independent Study75No Description
Lecture16Core Lecture material
Total Workload: 125

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

Lecture topics
1. Impulse & automobile design. 2. The physics of gunshot injuries. 3. Medical Ultrasound 1 - Basic principles and instrumentation. 4. Medical Ultrasound 2 - Therapeutic applications. 5. Magnetic Resonance Imaging 1. 6. Magnetic Resonance Imaging 2. 7. Thermostasis - Regulation of body temperature. 8. Human Acoustics - Frequency, sensitivity and detection. 9. Human Acoustics - Amplification processes, hearing aids. 10. Auditory localisation & Speech production. 11. Cardiovascular Physics 1 – Static fluids and fluid pressure. 12. Cardiovascular Physics 2 – Haemodynamics of ideal and viscous fluids 13. Respiratory Physics 1- the mechanics of respiration (Boyle, Laplace and Poisseuille) 14. Respiratory Physics 2 – surface tension, surfactants and near-drowning situations 15. Barotrauma – effects of abnormal gas pressures on human physiology 16. Solar disinfection of drinking water in developing countries.

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment100% Examination Weight0%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
ProjectBiomedical Physics Project 10,000 word written report and short in-class presentation.100%Once per semester
Reassessment Requirement Type
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
This module is category 1
Indicative Reading List

  • N. Barrie-Smith and A. Webb: 2010, Introduction to Medical Imaging, Physics, Engineering and Clinical Applications, Cambridge University Press,
  • Kane and Sternheim: 0, Physics (3rd edition), Wiley,
  • Marion and Hornyak: 0, General Physics with Bio-science essays (2nd edition),
  • Urone: 0, Physics (with health science applications),
  • Cutnell and Johnson: 0, Physics (4th Edition),
  • Sherwood: 2009, 5. Human Physiology: from cells to systems (7th edition), Brooks-Cole,
Other Resources

Programme or List of Programmes
APBSc in Applied Physics
PBMBSc Physics with Biomedical Sciences

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