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SON4000 - Physics of medical ultrasound and instrumentation

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Postgraduate Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Leader: Mr Paul Lombardo


Clayton First semester 2007 (Off-campus)
Clayton Second semester 2007 (Off-campus)


This unit addresses scientific and technical principles of diagnostic ultrasound and the scanning modes. The fundamentals of ultrasound transducers, continuous-wave and pulse-wave high frequency sound, A-mode, M-mode and B-mode diagnostic ultrasound scanning, the Doppler effect, spectral Doppler, colour and power Doppler and associated instrumentation are introduced. Recent developments in harmonic imaging and the use of contrast agents are presented. Safety issues are also covered including an understanding of bio-effects and bio-hazards. Students will develop skills in the recognition of image artefacts, the implementation of a quality assurance program and in optimising image quality.


On successful completion of this unit students will be able to demonstrate and communicate a broad and critical conceptual understanding of:

  1. ultrasound production, propagation and tissue interactions and the focusing and steering of ultrasound beams;
  2. the instrumentation, performance and use of A-mode, real-time B-mode and M-mode scanning in ultrasound practice;
  3. the Doppler effect and Doppler modes used in diagnostic ultrasound to image vascular flow including spectral, colour and power modes;
  4. image quality, relevant image processing, the recognition of artefacts and instrument calibration;
  5. safety issues in medical ultrasound, bio-effects and potential bio-hazards;
  6. advances in harmonic imaging the use of contrast agents and future trends on transducer technologies.


Written examination (1.5 hours): 25%
Assignment (1,500 words) 15%
On-line Artefacts Quiz: 10%
Continuing on-line assessment Tests: 50%.

Off Campus Attendance Requirements

Attendance at a two day workshop either on campus at Clayton or at venue to be advised.


Entry into the Graduate Diploma in Medical Ultrasound course