39373 - Nuclear Medicine and Radiotherapy Physics

Academic Year 2021/2022

  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures
  • Campus: Bologna
  • Corso: First cycle degree programme (L) in Imaging and Radiotherapy techniques (cod. 9079)

Learning outcomes

The student acquires the physical bases of the methods used in nuclear medicine, radiation protection, the interaction of radiation with matter (in particular also the range and danger of beta and alpha particles). Recalls on the interaction of photons. Review of: atom structure: Rutherford model; nucleons and electrons; Mass number and atomic number; isotopes. Symbology of nuclides. The student knows the energies used in radiotherapy, acquires knowledge on radiation protection in radiotherapy, dosimetry in radiotherapy, phases of the radiotherapy process and planning techniques. Physics of IORT and Proton therapy.

Course contents

1. Definition of Nuclear Medicine and Radiotherapy
1.1 Diagnostic methods and instrumentation
1.2 Metabolic radiotherapy
1.3 External radiotherapy
1.4 Brachytherapy

2. Atomic structure and Radioactive Decay
2.1 Structure of the atom
2.1 Nuclear stability / instability
2.3 Law of Radioactive Decay
2.4 Activities and units of measurement
2.5 Multiple decays, radioactive families
2.6 Mean Life and decay constant
2.7 Stable nuclei

3. Interaction of Radiation with Matter
3.1 Alpha, Beta and Gamma decays
3.2 Interaction of alpha and beta particles with Matter
3.3 Interactions of gamma-ray with Matter
3.4 Decay schemes of isotopes used in Nuclear Medicine
3.5 Portable radioisotope generators

4. Dosimetry and Radioprotection
4.1 KERMA and Absorbed Dose
4.2 Exposure and ionization chamber
4.3 Biological effects of ionizing radiation
4.4 Dosimetric units
4.5 Radioprotection units

5. Physics of Anger Camera and PET
5.1 Physical principles of Gamma Camera imaging
5.2 Physical principles of Gamma-Ray Spectrometry
5.3 Physical principles of PET imaging
5.4 Radioisotope production
5.5 Quality Controls in Nuclear Medicine

6. Planning of radiotherapy treatment
6.1 Linear Accelerator (LINAC) Physics
6.2 Dose Measurement in Radiotherapy
6.3 Classification of the biological target
6.4 Conformational Radiotherapy
6.5 Physics of the IORT

7. Adrotherapy
7.1 Physical principles of hadrotherapy
7.2 Advantages
7.3 Proton therapy
7.4 Heavy nucleus


-Slides provided by the teacher
-Duccio Volterrani, Fondamenti di medicina nucleare, Springer
-F.M. Khan, The Physics of Radiation Therapy, Williams & Wilkins
-J.R. Greening, Fundamentals of Radiation Dosimetry
-IAEA TRS 398 Absorbed dose determination in external beam radiotherapy: an international code of practice for dosimetry based on standards of absorbed dose to water

Teaching methods

- Frontal teaching, use of audiovisuals and, where possible, demonstration of the equipment.

-Since the subject is undoubtedly complex, the teacher will seek contact and dialogue with the students, not to judge, but rather to facilitate an active approach and understanding of the topics.

In consideration of the types of activities and teaching methods adopted, the attendance of this training activity requires the carrying out for all students of modules 1 and 2 in e-learning mode [https://www.unibo.it/it/servizi-e-opportunita/salute-e-assistenza/salute-e-sicurezza/sicurezza-e-salute-nei-luoghi-di-studio-e-tirocinio] and the participation in module 3 of specific training on safety and health in the places of study. Information on dates and methods of attendance of module 3 can be consulted in the specific section of the degree program website.

Assessment methods

Oral interview during which the student is invited to discuss the topics covered during the lessons, which are also found in the texts recommended for study and in the teaching material presented and discussed during the lessons.

The interview will be assessed on the basis of the following parameters:

- knowledge, mastery and in-depth analysis of the contents
- critical and expository skills
- technical and scientific terminological correctness
- professionalism and ability to exhibit

Teaching tools

Power Point slides, Java Applets, movies.

Where possible, demonstration of tools and equipment.

Office hours

See the website of Giuseppe Baldazzi


Good health and well-being Quality education Gender equality Sustainable cities

This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.