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SK2540 Physics and Applications of Ultrasound 6.0 credits

The course deals with basic physical principles, instrumental arrangements and biomedical applications of ultrasound. In particular, medical diagnostics and therapy with ultrasound are treated in the course.

Course offering missing for current semester as well as for previous and coming semesters
Headings with content from the Course syllabus SK2540 (Spring 2013–) are denoted with an asterisk ( )

Content and learning outcomes

Course contents


Physical principles of acoustic wave propagation: Wave equation. Acoustic quantities: displacement, velocity, pressure, phase velocity, acoustic impedance, energy and intensity. Acoustic wave modes: compressional waves and shear waves. Reflection, refraction and transmission. Absorption and attenuation. Diffraction, near field and far field. Non-linear effects. Acoustic streaming. Cavitation. Piezoelectricity and piezoelectric materials. Biological effects of ultrasound.

Instrumentation: Transducer design. Electronic beam steering and focusing. Acoustic properties of materials. Resonators. Acoustic lenses. Gain and filtering in medical imaging.

Biomedical applications of ultrasound: Diagnostics/imaging. Doppler. High power applications/therapy. Basic anatomical and functional findings with ultrasound, including the use of ultrasound in radiological, cardiological, vascular and gynological departments.

Lab course

The labs are performed in groups of two or more students, and are presented by a written report.

Intended learning outcomes

After the course is completed, the student should be able to:

  • Describe acoustic quantities and their relationships, namely, displacement, pressure, particle velocity, phase velocity, acoustic impedance, absorption, energy density and intensity
  • Perform calculations with the above quantities in order to design and optimize the performance of an ultrasonic transducer for a given set of specifications
  • Describe the basic physical principles of, and give examples of applications of non-linear effects, for example acoustic streaming and cavitation
  • Explain the physical background of, and describe the system design for different biomedical application areas treated in the course (see Main content)
  • Interpret diagnostic ultrasound images based on understanding of the interaction between ultrasound and tissue

Course disposition

No information inserted

Literature and preparations

Specific prerequisites

Knowledge in physics corresponding to SK1102 (Classical Physics)

Recommended prerequisites

No information inserted


No information inserted


J. D. N. Cheeke: "Fundamentals and Applications of Ultrasonic Waves", CRC Series in Pure and Applied Physics.

P. R. Hoskins, K. Martin and A. Thrush: "Diagnostic Ultrasound, Physics and Equipment", 2nd Edition, Cambridge Medicine.

Complement: L. E. Kinsler, A. R. Frey, A. B. Coppens and J. V. Frey, Fundamentals of Acoustics, John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Examination and completion

If the course is discontinued, students may request to be examined during the following two academic years.

Grading scale

A, B, C, D, E, FX, F


  • LABA - Laboratory Experiments, 1.5 credits, grading scale: P, F
  • TENA - Written Examination, 4.5 credits, grading scale: A, B, C, D, E, FX, F

Based on recommendation from KTH’s coordinator for disabilities, the examiner will decide how to adapt an examination for students with documented disability.

The examiner may apply another examination format when re-examining individual students.

Other requirements for final grade

The examination is performed by a written exam (TEN1; 4,5 hp, grading A/B/C/D/E/Fx/F), and passed lab course (LAB1, 1,5 hp, grading P/F).

Opportunity to complete the requirements via supplementary examination

No information inserted

Opportunity to raise an approved grade via renewed examination

No information inserted


Profile picture Martin Viklund

Ethical approach

  • All members of a group are responsible for the group's work.
  • In any assessment, every student shall honestly disclose any help received and sources used.
  • In an oral assessment, every student shall be able to present and answer questions about the entire assignment and solution.

Further information

Course web

Further information about the course can be found on the Course web at the link below. Information on the Course web will later be moved to this site.

Course web SK2540

Offered by

SCI/Applied undergraduate Physics

Main field of study

Engineering Physics, Physics

Education cycle

Second cycle

Add-on studies

No information inserted


Martin Viklund (

Supplementary information

this course is cancelled - replaced with HL2010.