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NE 107

Course Title: 
Introduction to Imaging
Course Units: 
Catalog Description: 
  • Introduction to medical imaging physics and systems, including x-ray computed tomography (CT), nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), positron emission tomography (PET), and SPECT; basic principles of tomography and an introduction to unfolding methods; resolution effects of counting statistics, inherent system resolution and human factors.
Course Prerequisite: 
  • NE 101 Nuclear Reactions and Radiation or consent of instructor
  • NE 104 Radiation Detection and Nuclear Instrumentation Laboratory or consent of instructor
Prerequisite Knowledge and/or Skills: 
  • basic atomic and nuclear physics.
  • basic interaction of radiation with matter.
  • basic knowledge of radiation detection and measurement.
Course Objectives: 

It is the instructor's intention to...

  • focus attention to those medical imaging systems and methods that rely directly on the properties of nuclei and/or machine-made sources of ionizing radiation.
  • emphasize the fundamental physics and engineering science on which those medical imaging systems are based and how these factors determine the qualitative and quantitative information that is made available for diagnostic purposes.
  • introduce image reconstruction in order to provide the basis for understanding tomographic methods. However, the general broad area of signal processing will not be dealt with except where statistical issues, peculiar to the measurement of ionizing radiation, are of principal importance in defining the quality of a measurement.
  • discuss the following imaging methods in detail: X-ray computed tomography (CT), positron emission tomography (PET), single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT), and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR).
Course Outcomes: 
  • understand the mechanisms of radiation interaction with human body.
  • have a working knowledge of the physics of X-ray imaging, image quality issues (noise, contrast, spatial resolution), tomographic image reconstruction/filtered backprojection, and X-ray computed tomography.
  • have a working knowledge of the physics of radionuclide imaging, Anger Camera principles, image quality issues (noise, contrast, spatial resolution, collimation), and tomographic image reconstruction.
  • understand the basic principles of nuclear magnetic resonance.
Topics Covered: 
  • General introduction to medical imaging.
  • Review of photon interactions, detection, and dosimetry.
  • The physics of X-Ray imaging: X-Ray image formation: analog and digital detectors, image quality (noise, contrast, spatial resolution), noise and image perception, imaging systems. examples. issues in mammography, tomographic image reconstruction/filtered backprojection, X-ray computed tomography.
  • The physics of radionuclide imaging: introduction to nuclear medicine, the Anger principle and Anger camera, planar image formation and statistical noise, collimators, spatial localization, and spatial resolution, photon scatter, energy discrimination, image contrast, dynamic imaging, nuclear tomography instrumentation and image reconstruction, PET imaging.
  • The physics of nuclear magnetic resonance: nuclear spins and magnetic moments; quantization; energy splitting in a magnetic field; energy transfer between thermal modes and the spin system; Boltzmann population distributions; interaction between external magnetic fields and the net magnetic moments; growth and decay of net moments in the direction of the applied field and spin-lattice relaxation ; Larmor frequencies; rotating coordinate systems and the rotation of net magnetic moments; attenuation of transverse magnetization and spin-spin relaxation; spin echos; pulse sequences and auxiliary magnetic field and development of spacially-discriminated signals.
Textbook(s) and/or Other Required Materials: 
  • R. K. Hobbie, Intermediate Physics for Medicine and Biology, AIP Press (1997)
  • S. Webb, Ed., "The Physics of Medical Imaging" IOP Publ. Ltd. (1996)
Class/Laboratory Schedule: 
  • This is primarily a lecture course, meeting two times a week for 80-minute lectures.
Contribution of Course to Meeting the Professional Component: 
  • This course contributes primarily to the students' knowledge of engineering topics, and does not provide design experience.
  • Students are required to work on homework sets that illustrate basic issues related to medical imaging.
Relationship of Course to Degree Program Objectives: 
  • This course primarily serves students in the department. The information below describes how the course contributes to the undergraduate program objectives.
  • This course contributes to the NE program objectives by providing education in a fundamental area of physics of medical imaging. It does not provide students with direct design experience, but includes substantial discussion and illustration of design issues.
Assessment of Student Progress Toward Course Objectives: 
  • Homework problem sets: 20%
  • Two midterm Exams 40%
  • Final Exam: 40%