U.S. Particle Accelerator School

Radiation Detection and Imaging for Medicine and Homeland Security course

Sponsoring University:

UC Santa Cruz


Radiation Detection and Imaging for Medicine and Homeland Security


Thomas F. Budinger, University of California, Berkeley & Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Purpose and Audience
The purpose of this course is to introduce undergraduate and graduate students to the instrumentation and applied mathematics used for detection of radiation from x-Ray generators as well as from radionuclides used for positron tomography and single photon tomography. In addition, the methods for detection of radiation from devices that might be used by terrorists will be appreciated.  

A first course in physics and calculus or equivalent applied mathematics course.

It is the responsibility of the student to ensure that he or she meets the course prerequisites or has equivalent experience.

Course will present the fundamental science of radiation and radiation interaction with matter as well as practical methods for comparing the performance of detectors ranging from semiconductors to wire chambers. At the end of the course, students are expected to understand the characteristics of ionizing radiation in space, in the natural Earth environment, used for medical applications environment, and around concentrated radiation sources used for energy, surveying, medicine and potentially terrorism.

Instructional Method
There will be 10 lectures accompanied by lecture notes or copies of the Power Point presentation when used. After each morning lecture the students will break into teams to work on 5 exercises that require Internet searches and are to be done outside scheduled classes. Starting with the second lecture there will be 9 Pass/NoPass in-class exams that will require less than 10 minutes. These exams are to generate curiosity and interest in the correct answer to topics that will be presented in the next class.

Course Content
The course will give students information on the character and sources of different forms of radiation ranging from medium energy photons to heavy ions. Source discussion will include those ranging from short-lived radionuclides to large sources of Cs-137 used for medical therapy and sources used in reactors. The methods and relative merits of detection instrumentation will include wire chambers, CCDs, semiconductors, and scintillators. Methods of localization will include reconstruction tomography. Interaction of radiation with human tissues and the environment will be analyzed and quantative methods of estimating doses will be demonstrated (e.g. calculate the amount of polonium to kill a spy).

Reading Requirements
(documents to be provided by USPAS and the instructor): Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography by James Patton and Thomas Budinger in Diagnostic Nuclear Medicine ed. Sandler et al. Nuclear (4th ed) 2003 Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins pp. 60 - 83; Positron Emission Tomography: Methods and Instrumentation by Simon Cherry and Michael Phelps in Diagnostic Nuclear Medicine ed. Sandler et al. Chapter 5(4th ed) 2003 Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins; Primer on Tomography by T. Budinger, REPRINTS on Charged Particle Therapy & Powerpoint slide sets.

Credit Requirements
Students will be evaluated on the quality of the problem sets and on the results of a final exam that will not require mathematical reasoning.

IU/USPAS course number P671