A simple medical physics experiment based on a laser pointer

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American Journal of Physics


Recent advances in medical physics have led to a proliferation of medical diagnostic instrumentation, particularly in the area of medical imaging. The pervasiveness of this new technology in turn has promoted a growing interest among physics faculty and students in courses covering this material (Ref. 1). However, few physics departments have responded to this interest with the creation of undergraduate courses in medical physics due to staffing limitations or a lack of experience in this area of physics or both. Nevertheless it may be possible for those institutions unable to offer a full course in medical physics to provide at least a substantial hands-on experience in the form of an advanced laboratory experiment on a representative topic, if it can be implemented with relative ease. In this paper we describe such an experiment in medical imaging using readily available hardware that illustrates the concepts behind one of the most successful medical imaging modalities developed to date, namely computed tomography (CT) (Ref. 2). © 2002 American Association of Physics Teachers.

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