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2010/1 Module Catalogue
 Module Code: PHY3007 Module Title: RADIATION AND BIOPHYSICS
Module Provider: Physics Short Name: PH3-RB
Level: HE3 Module Co-ordinator: SPYROU NM Prof (Physics)
Number of credits: 10 Number of ECTS credits: 5
Module Availability

Module Availability:


Autumn Semester (SEM1)


Assessment Pattern

Unit(s) of Assessment


Weighting Towards Module Mark( %)










Qualifying Condition(s) 


Physics programme regulations refer.


Module Overview

The course is made up of 2 interleaved components.  The first will concentrate on the interaction of ionising radiation with matter on a fundamental basis with particular emphasis given to transmission and emission measurements in both diagnostic imaging and radiotherapy.  This requires knowledge of the elemental composition of the human body.  The second focuses on physiological measurements and biomedical instrumentation;  the cellular origin of biopotentials, their clinical relevance and applications, as well as the effect of electricity on the human body and related safety issues. 





Module Aims

To provide a basis which will enable the students to understand the physical, biological and chemical processes of the interactions of ionising radiation with matter and how tissue composition and metabolic pathways affect these.  They should be aware of the problems considered in radiation transmission and emission measurements in both diagnostic imaging and therapy. 


To gain an understanding of the underlying physiological processes of nerves, neurones and muscles:  how these processes may be measured, the transducers and instrumentation involved and how they are used to aid the understanding of clinical diagnosis.


Learning Outcomes

Students should understand and explain the interactions of photons, neutrons and charged particles in matter with emphasis on the composition of biological systems..  They should be able to discuss these, critically, in terms of clinical applications of radiation transmission and emission measurements.  Students should also understand the concepts of radiation dose.  They should understand the cellular origin of biopotentials, how they are measured and their clinical relevance and have an appreciation of the operation and application of biotransducers and the effect of electricity on the human body and its relevance to safety issues. 


Module Content

Section 1


Radiation Physics and Interactions with Matters:


Interactions of ionising radiation with matter;  photons, charged particles and neutrons;  elemental composition of tissues;  biological and chemical processes and applications with reference to diagnosis and treatment.  Emphasis will be placed on the applications of external beams and radionuclide sources.  It will also include discussion of the “ideal” radionuclides for diagnosis and for therapy and the sources of radiation required.  Examples will be given in the context of Positron Emission Tomography and molecular imaging. 



Section 2


Physiological Measurements and Physiology:


Action potentials and electrophysiology;  operation of nervous system and neurones.


Measurement Techniques:


Measurement of voltage, current and impedance;  biomedical instrumentation;  measurement of flow and pressure.




Electrochemical pH;  electrodes;  pressure sensors.




Blood and circulation;  origin of ECG;  measurement of ECG;  measurement of flow and pressure. 


Neurology and the Brain:


EEG characteristics;  evoked potentials;  equipment safety.


Methods of Teaching/Learning

20 hours of lectures/tutorials


Selected Texts/Journals

For Reference/Recommended Reading :


i.                 E L Alpen, Radiation Biophysics, Prentice-Hall International Editions, London , 1990 (paperback)


ii.               J G Webster, Medical Instrumentation – Application and Design, Wiley 1995 (615.47/WEB)


iii.              K Kouris, N M Spyrou and D F Jackson, Imaging with Ionising Radiations, Surrey University Press/Blackie and Son, Glasgow, 1982


iv.             S Webb, The Physics of Medical Imaging, IOPP, London 200


v.               AC Guyton and JE Hall, Textbook of Medical Physiology, Elsevier Saunders, 2006.


Last Updated

July 2008.