MRS501 Breast Imaging Physics and Instrumentation (16)

This 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 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.


Session 1 (30)
Wagga Wagga Campus
Session 2 (60)
Wagga Wagga Campus

Continuing students should consult the SAL for current offering details: MRS501. 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 and Master of Medical Radiation Science (with specialisations).

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 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 a priori 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, digital mammography; principles of generation, differential absorption, filtration, scattering; tomosynthesis; resolution, contrast, 'grids'; 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; Exposure controls in mammography, manual selection of factors, AEC.
  • Performance tests of equipment - quality control
  • The Visual Perception System: Human visual perception, basic elements; Image perception and analysis, ROC and FROC analysis; Image processing methods and principles.
  • Quality analysis (noise, SNR, artifacts)
  • 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.


For further information about courses and subjects outlined in the CSU handbook please contact:

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Future students

The information contained in the CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: May 2019. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.