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Ultrasound Physics 1

Sonography > Sonography Fundamentals

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  • 3d-anatomyAnatomy
  • practiseQuiz
A basic knowledge of ultrasound physics and instrumentation is vital to ensure the correct application of ultrasound for both diagnostic and therapeutic interventions.

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A basic knowledge of ultrasound physics and instrumentation is vital to ensure the correct application of ultrasound for both diagnostic and therapeutic interventions.  Understanding the physical attributes of ultrasound waves and how images are generated will enable you to obtain optimum images and thus help to prevent misdiagnosis.

This module (a companion to Ultrasound Physics 2) guides you through introductory ultrasound physics principles including sound waves, attenuation, and transducer function. It contains many illustrations and animations to help you understand important concepts that will help you throughout your sonography career.

Ultrasound Physics 1 is suitable for all practitioners of ultrasound, anyone interested in learning about ultrasound physics. It is a valuable learning resource for anyone getting ready for the ARDMS Sonographic Principles and Instrumentation (SPI) Exam.

You’ll learn

  • ultrasound physics terminology and definitions
  • the basics: units and conversions, scientific notation, exponents and logarithms
  • the properties of sound waves, wave motions, concepts such as acoustic impedance and attenuation, and the laws of reflection and refraction
  • about power and intensity
  • about factors that affect images such as bandwidth, Q factor, beam configuration, slice thickness
  • transducer construction, types, frequency, and the different beam shapes
  • how an ultrasound system works
  • and much more (see Content tab for more detail)
Step 1 - Basics
Step 1.1 - Basic mathematics
Step 1.2 - Units of measurement
Step 1.3 - Metric system
Step 1.4 - Relationships and proportionality
Step 1.5 - Logarithms
Step 1.6 - Basic trigonometry
Step 1.7 - Decimal system
Step 2 - Waves
Step 2.1 - Definition
Step 2.2 - Classification
Step 2.3 - Propagation of mechanical waves
Step 2.4 - Acoustic variables
Step 2.5 - Characteristics and parameters of sound waves
Step 2.6 - The sound beam
Step 2.7 - Sound interference
Step 2.8 - Huygens' Principle
Step 2.9 - Decibels (dB)
Step 3 - Attenuation
Step 3.1 - Definition
Step 3.2 - Attenuation coefficient
Step 3.3 - Half-value layer thickness
Step 3.4 - Power and intensity
Step 3.5 - Acoustic impedance
Step 3.6 - Reflection and transmission coefficient
Step 4 - Pulse wave
Step 4.1 - Pulse echo principle
Step 4.2 - Pulse wave and continuous wave
Step 4.2.1 - Range equation
Step 4.2.2 - Parameters for pulse wave ultrasound
Step 4.3 - Bandwidth and operating frequency
Step 4.4 - Axial resolution
Step 4.5 - Frame rate
Step 4.6 - Temporal resolution
Step 5 - Transducers
Step 5.1 - Transducer construction
Step 5.2 - Types of transducers
Step 5.3 - Multifrequency and broadband transducers
Step 5.4 - Piezoelectric effect
Step 5.5 - Crystal thickness and operating frequency
Step 5.6 - Matching layer
Step 5.7 - Damping layer
Step 5.8 - Imaging dimensions
Step 5.9 - Axial resolution
Step 5.10 - Lateral resolution
Step 5.11 - Elevational resolution
Step 5.12 - Blind Doppler probe
Step 5.13 - Sequencing
Step 5.14 - Steering
Step 5.15 - Focusing
Step 6 - System operation
Step 6.1 - Real-time imaging
Step 6.2 - Dynamic range
Step 6.3 - Frame averaging techniques
Step 6.4 - Preprocessing and postprocessing
Step 6.5 - Pulser and beam former
Step 6.6 - Receiver
Step 6.7 - Contrast resolution
Step 6.8 - Analog to digital
Step 6.9 - Scan converter
Step 6.10 - Display
Step 6.11 - Ultrasound modes
Step 6.12 - Storage devices
  • Discuss units and conversions
  • Discuss metric system
  • Discuss scientific notation
  • Discuss exponents and logarithms
  • List and describe the properties of sound waves
  • Discuss the parameters of sound waves / speed of sound
  • Diagram and compare wave motions
  • Diagram and explain mechanisms of attenuation and attenuation coefficients
  • Explain acoustic impedance
  • Discuss power and intensity
  • Explain and diagram the laws of reflection and refraction
  • Discuss Snell's Law
  • Explain pulse echo principle
  • Compare pulse wave to continuous wave
  • Discuss crystal diameter and thickness
  • Define bandwidth and how it affects an image
  • Define Q factor and how it affects an image
  • Discuss the types of resolution
  • Describe how beam configuration affects image
  • Discuss Huygens' Principle and how it relates to phase
  • Compare focused and unfocused transducers
  • Discuss slice thickness and how it affects the image
  • Discuss the role of piezoelectricity in the production and processing of ultrasound
  • Diagram and explain transducer construction
  • Describe the effects of changing transducer frequency
  • Compare types of transducer construction and application
  • Discuss the types of transducers
  • Apply pulse echo to system design
  • Discuss the effect of TGC, gain, and power
  • List and describe equipment modes
  • Diagram and describe scan converters
  • List and describe image recorders
  • Discuss parts of ultrasound system
  • Explain filters, gates, color maps, pre, and post processing

The SIMTICS modules are all easy to use and web-based. This means they are available at any time as long as the learner has an internet connection. No special hardware or other equipment is required, other than a computer mouse for use in the simulations. Each of the SIMTICS modules covers one specific procedure or topic in detail. Each module contains:

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