Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Bioelectromagnetism

LEVEL 03 - Years 2, 3, 4 in Modular Undergraduate Course



DESCRIPTION This unit provides a general overview of topics in bioelectromagnetism. These include biological effects, biophysical mechanisms, present medical applications and future perspectives. Both therapeutic and diagnostic techniques using electromagnetic fields are introduced in this unit. Therapeutic techniques are mainly based on thermal ablation and dielectric heating whilst diagnostic methods are based on imaging modalities.

Bioelectromagnetic dosimetry, deals with the definition and measurement of the physical quantities that must be specified in evaluating interaction of electric and magnetic fields with living organisms. The essential aspects of theoretical bioelectromagnetic dosimetry are discussed in some detail for extremely low frequencies and are summarized briefly for radio-frequency fields, including microwaves.

Additionally, some aspects of radiation protection elements for non-ionizing radiation are introducted together with relevant topics on radiation protection guidelines, measurements and surveillance.

Study-unit Aims:

The aim of this unit is to provide students with analytical methods and technical knowledge in order to understand the interaction between electromagnetic fields and biological tissues, with special emphasis on medical applications.

Also, it aims to provide the foundations of the experimental approach in the context of health risk assessment and exposure standard setting.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- describe the different mechanisms of interaction of electromagnetic fields with the human tissues;
- explain the frequency dependence of the interaction of electromagnetic fields with the human tissues;
- describe different medical diagnosis, monitoring and therapy techniques derived from bioelectrical and bioelectromagnetic phenomena;
- define the physical quantities that characterise the interaction of electric and magnetic fields with living organisms;
- explain simplified models used in theoretical bioelectromagnetic dosimetry.

2. Skills
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- articulate the fundamental theory of medical imaging and therapeutic techniques using electromagnetic fields;
- distinguish between different mechanisms of interaction of electromagnetic fields with the human tissues (ranging from DC to microwaves);
- calculate the Specific absorption rate using numerical analysis;
- use simulation tools to model bioelectrical and bioelectromagnetic phenomena of the organism.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

- Furse, Cynthia, Douglas A. Christensen, and Carl H. Durney. Basic introduction to bioelectromagnetics. CRC press, 2009.

ADDITIONAL NOTES Pre-Requisite Study-units: PHY1125, PHY2211, PHY1145 and PHY2145

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture and Tutorial

Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Assignment SEM2 Yes 25%
Examination (2 Hours) SEM2 Yes 75%


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It should be noted that all the information in the study-unit description above applies to the academic year 2019/0, if study-unit is available during this academic year, and may be subject to change in subsequent years.