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2010/1 Module Catalogue
Module Provider: Physics Short Name: PHY3037
Level: HE3 Module Co-ordinator: BRADLEY DA Prof (Physics)
Number of credits: 10 Number of ECTS credits: 5
Module Availability

Module Availability:


Semester 1


Assessment Pattern

Unit(s) of Assessment


Weighting Towards Module Mark( %)






Qualifying Condition(s) 


University general 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.  The application of these physical concepts in medical physics requires knowledge of human biology and the composition and function of the human body. The second element concentrates on human biology from the cellular level, considering the cardiovascular and respiratory systems, nervous system and anatomy. 





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 human biology affects these.  They should be aware of the problems of radiation measurements for diagnostic and therapy.  To gain an understanding of the underlying physiological processes and function of the human body and its anatomy.


Learning Outcomes

Students should understand and explain the interactions of photons, neutrons and charged particles in matter with emphasis on the implications for biological systems. They should be able to discuss these, critically, in terms of radiation transmission and emission measurements.  Students should also understand the concepts of radiation dose.  They should understand important aspects of the human body and their relevance to radiation diagnostics and therapy. 


Module Content

Radiation Interactions (9 hours of lectures: Dr Zsolt Podolyák)



Interactions of radiation with matter, photons, neutrons and charged particles. Attenuation coefficients and the Mixture Rule. Concept of neutron flux and cross-section; the neutron spectrum.  The interaction of electrons (and other charged particles) with matter; elastic and inelastic processes, bremsstrahlung and radiative yield, energy dependence.  Measurement of radioactivity and standards.


Introduction to radiation detectors, describing the basic function and operation of semiconductor, scintillator and gas detectors, counting statistics, dead time and energy resolution.



Radiation/Human Biology (12 hours of lectures; Professor Andrew Nisbet)


The cell, cardiovascular and respiratory systems, nervous system and anatomy



Methods of Teaching/Learning

21 hours of lectures.


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
August 2010.