Medical physics

A.Y. 2021/2022
Overall hours
FIS/07 MED/36
Learning objectives
The course aims to provide students with a general understanding of the fundamental principles of physics and their implications in the biomedical field and in the study of the human body, with particular reference to the structure and normal functioning of the body and to topics relevant to the curriculum of studies and the profession of the medical doctor: mechanics of bodies and fluids, phenomena of transport in liquids, principles of thermodynamics, basic concepts of electromagnetism and optics, ionizing radiation, elements of medical imaging. The course also aims to convey the methodological process of physics, as the basis of scientific learning.
Expected learning outcomes
At the end of the course the student will have to
- know the fundamental principles of physics of the mechanics of solid bodies, liquids and gases, of the main phenomena of transport on cellular and molecular scale, of thermodynamics, of electrical and magnetic phenomena, of optics and ionizing radiations;
- be able to describe and apply in the context of physics problems the topics most directly connected to the biomedical field and to be able to give quantitative evaluations and estimates of the phenomena analyzed;
- describe the basic principles of use of ionizing radiation, mechanical waves and magnetic fields for the creation of diagnostic images, with particular reference to digital radiology, ultrasound, computerized tomography and magnetic resonance.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

More specific information on the delivery modes of training activities for academic year 2021/22 will be provided over the coming months, based on the evolution of the public health situation.
Prerequisites for admission
This is a first year, first semester, exam; therefore, no specific prerequisites are needed, excluding those required by the admission test to the CdS.
Assessment methods and Criteria
"The exam takes place with a written test and two oral tests, one per each module. The written test lasts 90 minutes and requires: - the resolution of problems indicating the fundamental steps, having contents and difficulties similar to those faced in the exercises;
- passing a multiple-choice test with questions on the topics of the program, some of which may require solving simple problems.
For the written test, the consultation of texts or notes is not allowed and the use of a calculator is recommended. At least half of the written test must be successfully completed to access the oral exam. The marks of the written tests are communicated through the Ariel platform.
The oral exam for both modules focuses on all the topics covered in the course.
The final grade is the credit-weighted average of the module assessments.
The evaluation parameters concern: the ability to interpret the questions; the ability to apply knowledge to problem solving; the correctness of the numerical calculations (where provided); the ability to use specific language, including graphics."
Applied physics
Course syllabus
"MATHEMATICAL BASES - The physical laws and the relationships between physical quantities for solving numerical problems: units of measurement, dimensions and orders of magnitude.
- Scalar quantities, vector quantities and introduction to trigonometry.

- The hourly laws of uniform and uniformly accelerated motion.
- The periodic motions and the quantities that characterize them.
- Concept of force and the principle of inertia.
- The concept of mass and the second principle of dynamics.
- Interaction between bodies, forces and the third principle of dynamics
- Types of forces: gravitational force, weight force, elastic force, contact forces, friction forces, tension force. Notes on muscle force.
- Moment of a force, levers and conditions of balance. Applications to the human body.
- Elasticity and deformations.
- The work of a force: meaning of kinetic energy and of the kinetic energy theorem.
- Force field: when it is conservative and definition of potential energy.
- Principle of conservation of mechanical energy and examples of application.
- Conservation of energy in walking, running and jumping.
- Collisions between bodies

- The characteristics of fluids. The concept of pressure in a fluid.
- Principles of hydrostatics: Pascal, Stevin and Archimedes principles.
- Surface phenomena: cohesion forces, surface tension and adhesion forces.
- The motion of a liquid: stationary motion and considerations on the flow rate and speed of the liquid.
- Bernoulli's theorem: hypothesis and meaning of the conservation of mechanical energy for liquids.
- Pressure trend in the presence of reduction or increase in the section of the duct and examples of stenosis and aneurysm.
- Effect of the presence of internal friction in real liquids: viscosity, Hagen-Poiseuille law and turbulent flow. Example of blood circulation.

- Viscous transport: sedimentation, electrophoresis and centrifugation
- Free diffusion and diffusion through a membrane due to concentration gradients.
- Filtration and osmosis.

- Thermal expansion in solids, liquids and gases.
- Equation of state of the ideal gas.
- The concept of quantity of heat and calorie.
- The thermal capacity of a body, the specific heat of a substance and the latent heat of fusion and evaporation.
- The mechanisms of heat transport.
- I and II principle of thermodynamics: internal energy and entropy.
- Thermodynamic potentials: enthalpy and free energy.

- Propagation of a wave. Interference, diffraction and the Huygens principle.
- Non-sinusoidal waves and Fourier analysis.
- Doppler effect.
- Propagation of sound waves. Sound intensity and sound perception.

- Coulomb's law.
- The electric field: intensity, direction and representation through the force lines.
- Electric potential.
- Dielectric and conductive materials.
- Induction phenomena and capacitance of a capacitor.
- Electric current, electric resistance, Ohm's law and resistive circuits.
- Joule's law to calculate the power dissipated by a resistance.
- RC circuit response and elementary frequency filtering schemes.

- Natural magnets and magnetic forces.
- Magnetic field generated by electrical current.
- Lorentz force.
- Magnetic induction, transients in alternating current circuits and circuits.

- Phenomenological relationships between electric and magnetic fields.
- Propagation of electromagnetic waves and ways of interacting with matter.
- Geometric optics.
- Index of refraction, laws of reflection, refraction and diffraction of light.
- Image formation in thin lens systems.
- Optical defects of the eye corrective lenses.
- Optical aberrations.

- X-ray characteristics and their generation.
- The interactions between X radiation and matter and the formation of the image on a radiographic plate.
- Radioactivity: isotopes, types of radiation, law of radioactive decay, measures of radioactivity and effects on biological systems."
Teaching methods
The teacher uses frontal lectures and guided exercises. The lessons include application examples and short exercises. During the guided exercises, the students will solve physics problems through group work led by the teacher. All the learning material used in the lessons is available on the Ariel platform, including additional exercises. Lesson attendance is mandatory.
Teaching Resources
Fisica '[(af 203) controllo analitico programmi.xls]Programmi'!$K$82:$K$83 D. Scannicchio, ed. Edises - Problemi di Fisica Biomedica, R. Cerbino, ed. EDISES
Diagnostic imaging and radiotherapy
Course syllabus
"Description of the diagnostic moment, analyzing the presence diagnosis, the diagnosis of nature, the staging and the follow up. Digital diagnostic images: matrix, spatial resolution, contrast resolution, archive and distribution.
Processing of digital images.
Mechanical waves and ultrasound image formation.
Doppler phenomenon.
Ultrasound contrast media and harmonic imaging.
Computerized tomography: technological evolution of the equipment, reconstruction through sinograms and back projection. Hounsfield unit and window concept.
Magnetic Resonance: signal genesis, relaxation time T1 and T2, spatial coding
Teaching methods
The teacher uses frontal lectures and guided exercises. The lessons include application examples and short exercises. During the guided exercises, the students will solve physics problems through group work led by the teacher. All the learning material used in the lessons is available on the Ariel platform, including additional exercises. Lesson attendance is mandatory.
Teaching Resources
Diagnostica per Immagini e Radioterapia Cittadini, Cittadini, Sardanelli, Ecig, Edizione 2015 P2- Manuale di Diagnostica per Immagini Torricelli, Mignani, Zompatori, Società Editrice Esculapio 2016
Applied physics
FIS/07 - APPLIED PHYSICS - University credits: 6
Informal teaching: 16 hours
Lessons: 60 hours
Professor: Buscaglia Marco
Diagnostic imaging and radiotherapy
MED/36 - IMAGING AND RADIOTHERAPY - University credits: 1
Lessons: 12 hours
Educational website(s)
L.I.T.A. Segrate, Via F.lli Cervi 93