SON4000 - Physics of medical ultrasound and instrumentation - 2019

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

Chief examiner(s)

Professor Michal Schneider


Mr Paul Lombardo

Unit guides



  • First semester 2019 (Online)
  • Second semester 2019 (Online)


Must be enrolled in course M6005.


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.


Upon successful completion of this unit, students should 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.


NOTE: From 1 July 2019, the duration of all exams is changing to combine reading and writing time. The new exam duration for this unit is 2 hours and 10 minutes.

  • Pearson secure online exam (1 hour) (25%)
  • Written exam (2 hours) (55%)
  • Assignment (2,000 words) (20%)

Requirement to obtain a pass: Students must obtain at least 50% of available marks overall and at least 50% of available marks in the combined written examination and Pearson secure online exam tasks.

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