Medical Imaging Technology - LEB


Biomedical Engineering

Curricular Unit (UC)

Medical Imaging Technology

Mandatory  x
Scientific Area EB Category  

Course category: B - Basic; C - Core Engineering; E - Specialization; P - Complementary.

Year:  Semester:  ECTS:  Total Hours: 
Contact Hours T:  TP:  PL: S: OT:
Professor in charge


T - Lectures; TP - Theory and practice; PL - Lab Work; S - Seminar; OT - Tutorial Guidance.

  • Learning outcomes of the curricular unit:

    A student completing this curricular unit should be able to:

    1. Explain the physical principles and describe the instrumentation for basic x-ray, CT, MRI and ultrasound imaging.
    2. Distinguish CT scans from basic X-ray imaging.
    3. Understand in technical detail the image reconstruction process.
    4. Discuss the trade-off between parameters such as signal to noise ratio, scan time, resolution and others depending on the type of imaging technology.
    5. Understand the limitations of each technology and its clinical applications.
  • Syllabus:

    I. Planar radiography.

    II. X-ray Computed Tomography - Image formation and reconstruction. Image quality measurements. Digital imaging manipulation.

    III. MRI - Basic principles, Larmor equation, macroscopic magnetization. MR hardware: types of magnets, field strengths, coils. Resonance and relaxation: Bloch equations, relaxation modes, tissue properties. Basic pulse sequences. Imaging: gradients, slice selection, bandwidth, frequency and phase encoding, k-space. Image optimization and trading parameters: resolution, SNR, scan time. Overview of MRI clinical techniques.

    IV. Ultrasound - Overview of A, B and M modes. Transducers and beam-forming. B-mode instrumentation, system performance, measurements and errors. Doppler ultrasound: continuous wave and pulsed wave.

    V. Overview of functional imaging modalities.

  • Demonstration of the syllabus coherence with the curricular unit's objectives

    The main aim of this curricular unit is to introduce students to the physics, instrumentation, image reconstruction process and performance analysis for the most common medical imaging technologies. Topics (I) and (II) of the syllabus are dedicated to x-ray planar radiography and CT scans, topic (II) is dedicated to MRI, topic (IV) to ultrasound and topic (V) to an overview of functional imaging modalities. The leaning outcome (2) is addressed on topic (I) and (II) of the syllabus. The other learning goals are addressed separately for each technology in the topics (I) to (V) of the syllabus.

  • Teaching methodologies (including evaluation):

    The teaching methodology is supported by several components:

    • Theoretical lectures are used for presentation and discussion of the theoretical principles and the equipment of various medical imaging methods
    • Theoretical-practical teaching is dedicated to solve exercises and illustrate the application of theory.
    • Tutorials to clarify questions and difficulties related to assessed coursework
    • Field trips and demonstrations of medical imaging equipment.
    • The written exam is 70% of the final mark. Assessed coursework corresponds to 30%. Tests can be done in alternative to the exam. Final Mark= 0.7 Exame + 0.3 coursework.
  • Demonstration of the coherence between the teaching methodologies and the learning outcomes.

    In theoretical and theoretical-practical lectures the theory is presented and selected exercises are solved to enable students to see immediately the application of theory. Students have access to a set of problems to prepare and test their understanding of the subject and lecturers are available to clarify questions. Examples of application of the concepts are given to motivate students and achieve the learning outcomes. Demonstrations and field trips take place so that students can see the equipment in operation. Coursework projects encourage discussion with academics and professionals and contribute to achieve the goals of this curricular unit.

  • Main Bibliography:
    1. Smith N. B, Webb A., “Introduction to medical imaging: physics, engineering and clinical applications”, Cambridge University Press, 2011
    2. McRobbie D. et. al.,”MRI From Picture to proton”, Cambridge University Press, 2003
    3. Hoskins P. R. et. al., “Diagnostic Ultrasound Physics and Equipment”, GMM, 2003
    4. Kak A., Slaney M., “Principles of Computerized Tomographic Imaging”, SIAM, 2001
    5. “Biomedical Imaging”, edited by K. Mudry, R. Plonsey, J. Bronzino, CRC, 2003.
    6. Barath A., “Introductory Medical Imaging”, SLBE, 2008.