The University of Newcastle, Australia
Available in 2020
Course code



10 units


2000 level

Course handbook


This course discusses the principles and operation of equipment used in nuclear medicine.

Availability2020 Course Timetables


  • Semester 2 - 2020

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Describe the atomic structure

2. Discuss radioactive decay

3. Relate the interaction mechanisms to nuclear medicine imaging

4. Describe image quality in nuclear medicine

5. Describe the production of radiopharmaceuticals

6. Discuss the characteristics of radiopharmaceuticals

7. Describe the type and use of detectors used in the nuclear medicine department

8. Discuss the need and use of windowing

9. Explain the construction and operation of nuclear counting systems

10. Explain the construction and operation of the gamma camera

11. Explain the construction and operation of SPECT; PET and PET/CT

12. Discuss nuclear medicine quality control procedures

13. Understand radiation Dosimetry terms

14. Discuss radiation protection principles and dose reduction methods


This course will include the following items:1. Basic Atomic Structure and RadioactivityAtomic structureIsotopesRadioactivity 

2. Radiopharmaceuticals (1 Lecture)Radionuclide productionDesirable characteristics

3. Interactions between Radiation and MatterCharged ParticlesPhotoelectric effect & characteristic radiationCompton scatteringPair ProductionRelative Importance of Interaction types in Nuclear MedicineAttenuation

4. Image QualityContrastResolutionNoiseAssessment Measures

5. Measurement of Radiation and RadioactivityDetector typesPulse-height analysis & energy spectra

6. Counting Systems and StatisticsNormal distributionPoisson statisticsDecay calculations [exponential]

7. Imaging SystemsGamma cameraSingle photon emission computed tomographyPositron emission tomographyHybrid PET & PET/CT systems 

8. Quality ControlOverview and rationale for QC tests in Nuclear MedicineFrequency of TestsGeneral Procedures

9. Radiation Biology and DosimetryInteraction mechanismsMutationRadiation carcinogenesis & other stochastic effectsDeterministic effectsEffects on embryonic and foetal developmentRadiation unitsMethods of assessing radiation dosePatient radiation doses in nuclear medicine

10. Radiation ProtectionObjectives of Radiation ProtectionBiological aspectsMeasures of detrimentICRP framework of radiological protectionDose limitsPractical methods of reducing dose to staffPractical methods of reducing dose to patients 


This course is only available to students enrolled in either the B MRS (Nuclear Medicine) (11019) or B MRS (Honours) (Nuclear Medicine) (40011) and have successfully completed PHYS1250.

Assumed knowledge

MRSC2501: MRS Instrumentation IIA

Assessment items

In Term Test: Exam - In class 1

In Term Test: Exam - In class 2

Contact hours



Face to Face On Campus 4 hour(s) per Week for 8 Weeks starting in week 1

Weeks 1-8


Face to Face On Campus 1 hour(s) per Week for 6 Weeks starting in week 2

Scheduled Weeks 2-4 and 6-8. Tutorial is an optional attendance for students requiring extra support