RAD4503 - Magnetic resonance imaging: Physics, instrumentation and safety - 2017

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Postgraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.


Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Organisational Unit

Department of Medical Imaging and Radiation Sciences



Prof Michael Farrell

Unit guides



  • First semester 2017 (Online)
  • Second semester 2017 (Online)


The physics of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is presented, with particular application to clinical diagnostic imaging.

The unit covers the basic physics of magnetic dipoles and magnetic spin resonance, along with descriptions of the instrumentation common to all clinical imagers.

The factors that determine the contrast and spatial resolution achievable in MRI are discussed.

The free induction decay (FID) signal sampling and image reconstruction methods are reviewed, as are the signal to noise ratio (SNR) and image artefacts that typically occur in MRI. Patient and MRI staff safety issues posed by magnetic and radio frequency fields are presented, along with current issues posed by use of contrast agents.


Upon successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

  1. Justify the physical design and operational requirements for a typical clinical MRI system
  2. Explain the imaging parameters that define the contrast sensitivity in MRI
  3. Evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of gradient and spin echo recovery techniques
  4. Present logical arguments for use of different contrast agents in clinical practice
  5. Justify the reasons for precautions that are taken in MRI to ensure staff and patient safety
  6. Recognise deficiencies in images, such as reconstruction artefacts, identify the cause of such problems, and implement strategies to correct or attenuate image artefacts


  • Two secure online examinations (45 minutes each) (30%)
  • Technical quality assurance and quality control report (2,000 words) (25%)
  • Written assignment based on a set research topic (3000 words) (45%)

Hurdle Requirement: Each element of assessment is a hurdle for this unit

Workload requirements

On-line delivery - course designed only for post graduate students.

There will be video clips and video-conferences available throughout the course to assist in directing students. Discussion forums will be initiated to further direct student outcomes.

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study

Radiography and medical imaging

Radiation science


Postgraduate students only