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2010/1 Module Catalogue
Module Provider: Physics Short Name: PHM-NIR
Level: M Module Co-ordinator: BRADLEY DA Prof (Physics)
Number of credits: 15 Number of ECTS credits: 7.5
Module Availability

Autumn through Spring Semester


Assessment Pattern

Unit(s) of Assessment


Weighting Towards Module Mark (%)


Closed-book examination


100 %


Part-time Students:


Same as for full time students


Qualifying Condition(s) 


This module is assessed in Paper IV which will consist of 6 questions. Students answer 4 questions from the 6. Full marks for a question will be equivalent to 25 % of the total marks available in assessment of this module.
Module Overview
Delivers material on the basic principles of medical NMR. Discusses basic biochemical parameters that affect the flow of blood in vivo and fundamental fluid mechanics equations and the way that they can be applied to the human circulatory system. Discusses clinical measurement of blood pressure, flow and volume. Examines theoretical aspects and simple models explaining the behavioural response of biological cells to external electromagnetic fields. Gives an overview of methods for investigation of nervous system function. Looks at the physics and technology of laser systems, UV and blue light and the interaction of these radiations with biological materials and their applications in medicine, together with an appreciation of the hazards involved and protective measures.
Module Aims
To introduce students to the basic areas of analogue and digital electronics as might be encountered in medical instrumentation etc. To provide the student with the theoretical skills necessary to understand the physics behind the operation of nuclear magnetic resonance and its imaging applications. To introduce the application of fluid mechanics in the study of blood flow and clinical measurement of haemodynamic variables. To introduce background theory and application of biodielectric materials and equipment. To provide an overview of methods for investigation of the nervous system. To provide a basic introduction to the principles of lasers and UV and blue light in medicine.
Learning Outcomes

After completing this module, the student should be able to:


Module Specific Skills:


  • describe the generation of a free-induction-decay and radiant and spin echoes and their utilisation for magnetic resonance imaging;


  • describe the concept of k-space and solve problems relating to Fourier techniques for image generation;


  • describe various types of laser and UV equipment and the appropriate safety measures;


  • apply hydrodynamics to the problem of liquids and solute transport;


  • describe the essentials of theoretical models on biological cell structures and the response to external EM fields and practical consequences.





Discipline Specific Skills


·         ability to use physics techniques in a variety of multidisciplinary contexts;


  • provide an evaluation of risk;


  • develop familiarity with the possibilities offered by complex digital hardware, including image processing.



Personal and Key Skills:


  • solve problems in a systematic manner;


have general awareness of safety issues in the workplace and elsewhere.
Module Content















Prof PJ McDonald















Dr J Pickett








Dr WB Amaee


















Mrs P Moore











Dr CA Mosse














Dr JM Oduko


Introduction to NMR Spectroscopy, Imaging and Signal Analysis


A microscopic (energy level) approach to NMR; a macroscopic (magnetisation vector) approach; relaxation; the Bloch equations; chemical shift; CW & pulsed NMR; T2* relaxation.


MRI fundamentals:  the slice, frequency and phase direction; the spin-echo imaging method; image contrast; components of an MRI system.


Signal representation in the time and frequency domains; complex numbers and oscillating systems; Fourier series; Fourier series; Fourier transforms; properties of Fourier transforms; convolution. The generalised imaging system and concepts of modulation transfer function.





The circulatory system. The nature of blood.  Whole blood viscosity, plasma viscosity, red cell deformability and aggregation. Flow characterisation, blood flow calculations, Viscometers. Blood pressure measurement, blood flow measurement, microvascular assessments.





Typical biolectric waveforms generated by various organs of different animals;  static and time dependent Electromagnetic (EM) fields;  basic mathematical formulae governing their interaction with matter;  fundamental parameters characterizing the biological cell response to time dependent external EM fields;  latest models and theoretical aspect of cell structure;  frequency dependent nature of sensation threshold of current injected into the body for impedance measurements;  bipolar and tetrapolar configuration used to measure the true impedance;  measurement of body fat and water contents using electrical impedance (EI) and (NIR) methods;   EI Epigastrography using the state-of-the art machine constructed in 1997;  brief reference to calculation of various parameters associated with EIE traces and power analysis of the stomach motility.



Clinical Neurophysiology


The neuron as the building block.  Axonal transmission.  Synaptic transmission.  Nerve conduction velocity testing.  Basic Needle EMG Evoked Response testing with special reference to BAER in infants.  EEG with special references to Epilepsy.  Multiple Sclerosis, Motor Neurone disease, Stroke & Epilepsy used as Exemplar Diseases.  Relationship of Electrophysiology to Functional MR & PET.




Lasers in Medicine


The course offers a brief review of basic laser physics and an introduction to the biophysical processes involved in the interaction of laser light and biological tissues.  The photothermal, photochemical, photomechanical and photoablative effects of laser light are considered with reference to the underlying physical principles behind the therapeutic and diagnostic uses of laser light.  Basic laser safety is introduced and simple mathematical models used to describe the laser ablation and coagulation of soft tissues.




UV Radiation and Blue Light


Introduction - including brief history.


Subdividing the UV spectrum - UVA, -B, -C.


Effects of UVR on humans - including effects on skin and eye and photosensitivity.


Sources of UVR - including lamps used in medicine & medical applications; radiation protection surveys.


Other sources of UVR - sunbeds, uses in offices, industry, research, sunlight.


UV measurements - thermal and photon detectors, spectroradiometer.  Quantities and units.  Proper matching of source, detector and biological effect.  Calibration.


The course covers the properties, sources, hazards and uses of ultraviolet radiation, mainly in medicine but also in everyday life where of interest from a non-ionising radiation protection viewpoint.  There is particular emphasis on making correct measurements.

































































































Methods of Teaching/Learning
The module is taught by lecturers from the Faculty of Electronics & Physical Sciences and clinical and medical physics departments in hospitals.
Selected Texts/Journals

Selected Texts/Journals


Each lecturer recommends his/her own set of reference books. The current list is as follows:


(i) Essential Reading


The Physics of Medical Imaging, Ed S Webb, IoPP, 2002


NMR Imaging in Biomedicine, Peter Morris, OUP, Clarendon Press 1986


MRI - A Conceptual Overview, SS Rajan, Springer 1997


Signal Processing First, McClellan, Schafer and Yoder, Pearson, 2003


Quantum Description of High-Resolution NMR in Liquids, Morris Goldman, Clarendon, 1988


Principles of Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Microscopy, PT Callaghan, Clarendon, 1991


Analog and Digital Signal Processing, H Baher, Wiley, 1990


Introduction to Communication Systems, FG Stremler, 3rd Edn, Addison Wesley, 1990


Digital Signal Processing, JG Proakis and DG Manolakis, Macmillan, 1992


The Fourier Transform and its Applications, RN Bracewell, McGraw-Hill, 1985


An Introduction to Cardiovascular Physiology. JR Levick, Butterworth Heinemann, 1991


Biomechanics: Mechanical Properties of Living Tissues. YC Fung, Springer, 2nd Edn 2005.


Medical instrumentation application and design. JG Webster, Houghton Mifflin, 1992


Lasers: Principles and Applications. J Wilson, JFB Hawkes, Prentice Hall, 1987


Laser-Tissue Interactions.  MH Niemz, Springer-Verlag, Berlin, 1996


Ultraviolet Radiation in Medicine. B L Diffey, Adam Hilger, 1982


Ultraviolet & Blue-light Phototherapy: Principles, Sources, Dosimetry & Safety. Diffey & Hart, IPEM, 1997




(ii) Supplementary Reading


The Oregon Medical Laser Center web site, in particular:


Filter Design for Signal Processing, D Miroslav, DV Tosic and BL Evans, Prentice Hall ISBN 201 361302


Last Updated
19 August 2008