MRS501 Breast Imaging Physics and Instrumentation (16)

This two session subject covers the basic principles of radiation production, radiation safety and protection and instrumentation in the field of breast imaging. It extensively considers the physics of mammography and advanced mammography and explores alternate breast imaging modalities covering both film screen and digital image formation and recording methods. The design and care of instrumentation relevant to breast imaging will be reviewed with emphasis on quality assurance and quality control procedures and consideration of the aspects of visual perception, image processing and analysis. Finally, this subject deals with fundamental considerations of breast dosimetry, radiation biology and radiation protection.

Subject Outlines
Current CSU students can view Subject Outlines for recent sessions. Please note that Subject Outlines and assessment tasks are updated each session.

No offerings have been identified for this subject in 2018.

Where differences exist between the Handbook and the SAL, the SAL should be taken as containing the correct subject offering details.

Subject Information

Grading System



Two sessions


School of Dentistry and Health Sciences

Enrolment Restrictions

Only available to students enrolled in the Graduate Diploma of Mammography course. Students enrolled in the Master of Medical Radiation Science course may enrol with the permission of the Courses Director.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
  • be able to explain the structure of matter and the basic principles, types and units of radiation.
  • be able to explain the physical principles involved in the generation of breast x-ray, ultrasound, and other alternative modality images.
  • be able to explain the basis of the visual perception system and then synthesise the implications with regards to breast image analysis.
  • be able to identify the way in which imaging equipment and associated technology embraces the above principles, and apply this knowledge of the various equipment types into the practice of mammography.
  • be able to relate the basis of the various radiation quantities and units used in breast dosimetry, radiation biology and radiation protection.
  • be able to differentiate the ways by which breast dose may be assessed.
  • be able to analyse basic radiobiological event sequences and effects at molecular, cellular and tissue levels
  • be able to explain the basis of risk evaluation and be able to calculate likely population outcomes given apriori conditions of irradiation dose.
  • be able to synthesise the basis of- and integrate working knowledge relating to the practical minimisation of risk in mammography; and relevant controls - legislative and recommendatory.
  • be able to compare and contrast the potential bioeffects and recommendations pertaining to some alternate imaging modalities.


This subject will cover the following topics:
  • Imaging Modalities: X-ray imaging in mammography, direct film, screen film, digital mammography; principles of generation, differential absorption, filtration, scattering ; resolution, contrast, 'grids'; ultrasound - basic principles of echo ranging, sound pulse generation and transmission; basis of real time US, tissue-sound interactions, spatial and temporal resolution, contrast and echogenicity; Alternative modalities - MRI, thermography, visible light, nuclear medicine, CT. Basis of operation and basis of usage in diagnosis; New and emerging technologies
  • Technological Foundations: X-ray equipment - power and tube requirements for, typical specifications, design; Ultrasound - Realtime Design, requirements for high resolution, transducer types; Equipment for alternative modalities - basic descriptions and use of; Exposure controls in mammography, manual selection of factors, AEC.
  • Quality control (1) - performance tests of equipment.
  • The Visual Perception System: Human visual perception, basic elements; Image perception and analysis, ROC and FROC analysis; Image processing methods and principles.
  • Quality Control (11) - QC and image analysis.
  • Radiation principles; basic structure of matter, types of radiation, units of radioactivity, penetration power of different types of radiation and interaction of radiation and matter
  • Radiation Protection: Fundamental concepts, ALARA, equipment and procedural safety, designing, occupational and patient risk minimisation, legislation and recommendatory documents.
  • Radiation detection and measurement, radiation hazards (internal and external) and radiation waste
  • Dosimetry: Absorption of energy and ionisation, intensity, energy fluence, exposure and exposure rate, absorbed dose, equivalent dose, effective dose, 'skin' dose, mean glandular dose, techniques of dosimetric assessment.
  • Radiation Biology: Basic considerations, factors affecting biological damage, event sequences, molecular, cellular and tissue damage, radiosensitivity, D37, single and multi-target models of interactions, absolute and relative risk factors, radiocarcinogenesis, life span effects, bioeffects of ultrasound and MRI.

Workplace Learning

This subject contains a 14 days Compulsory Workplace Learning component.

Students will engage in clinical practice at a nominated BreastScreen Australia unit or Radiology Practice for the duration of the course. This is a course entry requirement and will be undertaken over 41 weeks at 2.5 days per week (or equivalent), of which 14 days are allocated to this subject. MRS501 is a hybrid subject with distance education components and workplace learning components.

Special Resources

Students will engage in clinical practice at a nominated BreastScreen Australia unit or Radiology Practice for the duration of the course. This is a course entry requirement and will be undertaken over 41 weeks at 2.5 days per week (or equivalent). This is an overall course requirement and incorporates the 14 days required for MRS501.

Students will be required to cover the costs of immunisation, First Aid, uniforms and appropriate background checks in keeping with the Faculty of Science policies.



Current Students

For any enquiries about subject selection or course structure please contact Student Central or or phone on 1800 275 278.

Prospective Students

For further information about Charles Sturt University, or this course offering, please contact info.csu on 1800 275 278 (free call within Australia) or enquire online.

The information contained in the 2018 CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: August 2018. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.