PHY541 Ultrasound Physics & Instrumentation (8)

This subject provides a cohesive presentation of the physics and instrumentation of modern diagnostic medical ultrasound. It covers ultrasound wave properties, ultrasound propagation and attenuation in body tissue, ultrasonic transducers and their beam properties. The subject closely links these physical principles to the operation of modern diagnostic ultrasound instrumentation, such as two-dimensional, real-time scanning machines, M-mode scanners, and Spectral-, Colour- and Power- Doppler instrumentation. Recent advances in transducer- and imaging- technology are also discussed. The subject looks at the physics of blood flow, i.e. haemodynamics, and also covers quality assurance of ultrasound equipment, together with ultrasound bioeffects and safety considerations.

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


* Offering has a residential school. Please view following information for further details.

Session 1 (30)
Online *
Wagga Wagga Campus

Continuing students should consult the SAL for current offering details: PHY541. 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



One session


School of Dentistry and Health Sciences

Enrolment Restrictions

Available only to students enrolling in the Grad Dip / MMedUltrasound courses.

Assumed Knowledge

Basic algebra and high school mathematics.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
  • be able to describe and solve relevant mathematical calculations pertaining to the physical properties of diagnostic ultrasound and its interaction with body tissue
  • be able to explain the purpose, and describe the operation of current mainstream diagnostic ultrasound modalities (instrument systems), and employ some relevant quality assurance procedures
  • be able to explain the physical basis underlying imaging/scanning artifacts and critically evaluate the artifacts with all modalities studied
  • be able to describe and perform calculations relating to the physical principles governing blood-flow in the human body (haemodynamics), and to the various modalities of Doppler ultrasound
  • be able to examine the different possible ultrasound bioeffects and their responsible damage mechanisms, and implement international safety recommendations and guidelines
  • be able to explore and appraise a number of recent advances in ultrasound imaging technology, including tissue harmonic imaging, contrast harmonic imaging, 3-D imaging, elastography, and changes in transducer material
  • be able to use research skills to maintain independent learning for continuing professional development on new and evolving ultrasound technologies


This subject will cover the following topics:
  • Basic wave theory, specific impedance, intensity and decibels.
  • Ultrasound propagation and attenuation.
  • The ultrasound transducer and probe design.
  • The ultrasound fields, multi-element array focussing and steering.
  • A- and M-mode scanning, pulse-echo ranging, spatial- and temporal-average intensity descriptors.
  • Modern real-time B-mode instrumentation; signal and image processing; grey scale artefacts; advanced ultrasound techniques and instrumentation.
  • Axial, lateral and contrast resolution.
  • Doppler ultrasound and artefacts.
  • Haemodynamics, signature waveforms, contrast harmonic imaging, harmonic DTI.
  • Bioeffects and safety of diagnostic ultrasound.

Residential School

This subject contains a 5 day Compulsory Residential School.

Students attend the compulsory Residential School in Wagga Wagga. They work through a set of structured exercises and basic ultrasound physics experiments in both a laboratory and tutorial setting. During this time the mid session examination is held. Students are also provided with other course based activities.


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.