Physics and Principles of Ultrasound Imaging

  • David Feller-Kopman

In order to accurately interpret the images one sees on an ultrasound (US) monitor screen it is essential to have a basic comprehension of basic physics and the principles of ultrasound imaging. Several societies, including the Royal College of Radiologists (1), the American College of Emergency Physicians (2), and the American College of Surgeons (3) have developed guidelines that state the necessity of incorporating this fundamental knowledge base into one’s practical training for using ultrasound at the bedside. This chapter will review some of these core principles, with key words or phrases used in the lexicon of US italicized for emphasis.

The Physics of Ultrasound

Ultrasound uses the transmission and reflection of mechanical waves at tissue interfaces to produce an audible or visual signal. The wavelength of ultrasound describes the distance between adjacent bands of compression and refraction, is measured in meters and is denoted by the symbol lambda (λ). Ultrasound frequency...


Acoustic Impedance Ultrasound Beam Ultrasound Transducer Focal Zone Ultrasound Unit 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Feller-Kopman
    • 1
  1. 1.Director, Interventional PulmonologyJohns Hopkins University HospitalBaltimoreUSA

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