Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

Course Number:
RAD 132
Course Title:
Radiographic Image Production
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:
Special Fee:

Course Description

Introduces theory and practical application of film/screen systems, sensitometry, image formation, automatic film processing, subtraction/duplication, computed radiography and quality assurance. Lab includes using test tools with energized equipment. Department permission required. Prerequisites: RAD 115.

Addendum to Course Description

This course also covers electronic imaging as it begins to replace traditional film/screen systems. Prior to this course, the student must have completed RAD 115 & RAD 107. RAD 132 is required as part of the Radiologic Technology degree program. It is also a prerequisite for taking the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists examination for certification in Radiography. Transferability of credit depends entirely upon the institution to which the student wishes to transfer.

Intended Outcomes for the course

  1. Practice appropriate use of film/screen combinations for a variety of radiographic exposures.
  2. Maintain and utilize automatic processing equipment as well as resolve problems related to such equipment.
  3. Utilize QA/QC procedures related to film & processing.
  4. Apply principles of digital imaging in the clinical setting.

Course Activities and Design

This course is an introduction to principles of film/screen imaging. It will cover material on the production of an image on the film through to the processing of that image. Also covered are the quality control tests related to film, screens and processing. Electronic imaging will be covered including computed radiography and direct radiography. Class attendance is required to receive a grade in this course.
Various media are used in presenting the course content. Diagrams, schematics, slides, videos, and other visual aids are used in the lecture/discussion sessions. These sessions are designed to be relevant to the skills and knowledge the student will need in the application of radiological imaging. There will be reading assignments from required textbooks. There may be outside reading assignments.
Safety is extremely important; therefore, is taught throughout this course. Pertinent safety points are noted in this course. Please contact the department director or the Office of Students with Disabilities, Sylvania ST 229, if you have a disability so that appropriate accommodations can be made for your course of study.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

At the beginning of the course, the student will be given a syllabus including the major examinations and the dates on which they will be given. Quizzes may be given without notice. Points will be earned for quizzes, assignments, and examinations. The points will accumulate throughout the term.
The objectives may be tested in a variety of ways; i.e., multiple choice questions, written essay questions, oral examinations, and manual demonstrations.
The final grade for the course will be determined by a percentage of the accumulated points. A term grade of "C" (75%) is required to pass this course.

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

1.0 Intensifying Screens
1.1 Screen Construction
1.2 Luminescence and Phosphors
1.3 Screen Characteristics
1.4 Efficiency
1.5 Emission Spectrum
2.0 Radiographic Film
2.1 Film Construction
2.2 Formation of the Latent Image
2.3 Processing the Latent Image
3.0 Photographic Characteristics of Radiographic Film
3.1 Photographic Density
3.2 Radiographic Contrast
3.3 Sensitometric Curve
4.0 Quality Assurance
4.1 Screen Maintenance
4.2 Care and Handling of Radiographic Film
4.3 Safelighting, Darkroom, and Illuminators
4.4 Automatic Processing
4.5 Silver Recovery
5.0 Film Types
5.1 Spectral Sensitivity
5.2 Subtraction Technique
5.3 Duplication of Radiographs
1.0 Intensifying Screens
Instructional Goal
The goal is to develop knowledge of the many and varied types of intensifying
screens and develop skills in applying that knowledge to best advantage.
1.1 Screen Construction
1.1.1 Diagram, label, and identify the principal components of an
intensifying screen.
1.1.2 Explain the functions of each layer
1.1.3 State the approximate thickness of each layer and give examples of
materials from which each may be made.
1.2 Luminescence and Phosphors
1.2.1 Define and differentiate among the following terms:
a. luminescence
b. fluorescence
c. phosphorescence
1.2.2 Discuss fluorescence and phosphorescence as they relate to fluoroscopy and radiography. Also recognize that the terms "lag" and
"afterglow" are synonymous with phosphorescence.
1.2.3 List several phosphor compounds used in radiography today and identify the chemical symbols for each. Also identify the color of the light emitted. The list should include:
a. calcium tungstate
b. yttrium oxysulfide
c. lanthanum oxysulfide
d. gadolinium oxysulfide
e. barium fluorochloride
f. lanthanum oxybromide
g. cesium iodide
h. zinc cadmium sulfide
1.2.4 Define the term "activator" as it relates to intensifying screens and list several examples of commonly used activators.
1.3 Screen Characteristics
1.3.1 Define the term "intensification factor."
1.3.2 Apply the formula for determining intensification factor.
1.3.3 Relate the intensification factor to absorbed dose.
1.3.4 Identify the three broad categories of screen speeds in numerical terms.
1.3.5 Discuss screen speed with respect to the following items:
a. phosphor composition
b. phosphor thickness
c. crystal size
d. concentration of crystals
e. radiation quality
f. temperature
g. reflective layer
h. light absorbing dye
1.3.6 Interpret manufacturers screen charts and using the appropriate formula convert appropriate mAs technique from one screen speed to another.
1.3.7 Use the relative exposure factor (REF) to determine the mAs to be
used for selected screens when appropriate data are given.
1.3.8 Define the term "resolution" and explain how the following factors affect screen resolution:
a. thickness of phosphor layer
b. crystal size
c. dye
d. reflective layer
1.3.9 Identify an analyzer plate and interpret the results from its use.
1.4 Efficiency
1.4.1 Relate the x-ray absorption of a screen to its k-edge and photo-electric effect.
1.4.2 Define conversion efficiency as it relates to screens.
1.4.3 Differentiate the conversion efficiency and absorption of calcium tungstate screens to rare earth screens.
1.4.4 Describe screen efficiency.
1.4.5 Relate conversion efficiency and screen efficiency to intensification factor.
1.4.6 State the purpose of using a cassette with screens.
1.4.7 Diagram, identify, and label the principal components of a cassette.
1.4.8 Explain the function(s) of each component.
1.4.9 Identify various materials from which each component may be made.
1.5 Emission Spectrum
1.5.1 Define the term "spectral matching" as it relates to intensifying screens and radiographic film emulsion.
1.5.2 Compare the spectral emission of calcium tungstate and rare earth phosphors.
1.5.3 Compare fluoroscopic screens to x-ray intensifying screens and identify input and output phosphors on image intensifiers.
2.0 Radiographic Film
Instructional Goal
The goal is to develop knowledge of the various types of radiographic films available and how latent images are formed and transformed into manifest images.
2 2.1 Film Construction
2.1.1 Diagram, identify, and label the principal layers of a double emulsion radiographic film.
2.1.2 Explain the function of each layer.
2.1.3 Identify the approximate thickness of each layer.
2.1.4 Identify various materials from which the base may be manufactured.
2.1.5 List the components of the emulsion.
2.1.6 Diagram, identify, and label a silver halide crystal. Also discuss the sensitivity speck with respect to its location, function, and composition.
2.2 Formation of the Latent Image
2.2.1 Explain latent image formation and define the following terms:
a. latent image
b. manifest image
c. latent image center
2.2.2 Identify the function of the gelatin and the sensitivity speck with respect to latent image formation.
2.2.3 Explain photon absorption in the silver halide crystal.
2.2.4 Compare the effect of x-ray and light interaction on the silver halide crystal.
2.3 Processing the Latent Image
2.3.1 Describe in basic terms, the action of the developer on silver halide crystals, with and without latent image centers.
2.3.2 List the four principal steps in processing the latent image.
2.3.3 List the chemicals of the four major components of the developer and identify their functions.
2.3.4 Differentiate between reduction and oxidation.
2.3.5 State the importance of agitation, time, and temperature on the development of the latent image.
2.3.6 State the purpose of replenishment in development.
2.3.7 Define the term "fog" as it relates to the radiographic image and identify the major causes of fog.
2.3.8 Describe the effect of fog on the radiographic image.
2.3.9 Discuss fixing of the manifest image.
2.3.10 List the chemical ingredients of the fixer.
2.3.11 State the function of each ingredient of the fixer.
2.3.12 State the purpose of washing and drying film.
2.3.13 List the principal components of an automatic processor and describe their function.
3.0 Photographic Characteristics of Radiographic Film
Instructional Goal
The goal is to develop knowledge of the relationship between the intensity of exposure of exposure of the film and resultant blackness. Also, the goal is to develop skills in producing and interpreting a sensitometric curve.
3 3.1 Photographic Density
3.1.1 Define photographic density.
3.1.2 Solve density problems using the following formula: D=log10 Io/It
3.1.3 Explain why logarithms are used to express density.
3.1.4 State the primary controlling factor of density.
3.1.5 List several factors which influence density.
3.1.6 State in numbers, the minimal difference in density which can be seen under good viewing conditions.
3.2 Radiographic Contrast
3.2.1 Define radiographic contrast.
3.2.2 Differentiate between film contrast and subject contrast.
3.2.3 State the factors which affect subject contrast, and explain how these factors influence subject contrast.
3.2.4 Define film contrast.
3.2.5 List the factors which affect film contrast, and explain how these factors influence film contrast.
3.3 Sensitometric Curve
3.3.1 Describe a sensitometric curve and list two other names for this curve.
3.3.2 Produce a sensitometric curve and determine the average gradient by measuring the angle of the slope of the straight-line portion.
3.3.3 Determine the average gradient by applying the following formula:
          D2 - D1
         G = LRE2 - LRE1
3.3.4 Identify the two points of density used to determine the straight-line portion.
3.3.5 State the diagnostic range of densities.
3.3.6 Identify the average density of film base and fog.
3.3.7 Differentiate between gross density and net density.
3.3.8 Interpret sensitometric curves with regard to film contrast.
3.3.9 Interpret average gradients of selected films and determine their effect on subject contrast.
3.3.10 Discuss the effect of direct and indirect exposure on film contrast.
3.3.11 Discuss the effect of time and/or temperature of development on film contrast.
3.3.12 Explain the reason a relatively high film contrast is preferred in medical radiography.
3.3.13 Interpret sensitometric curves with respect to sensitivity or speed and define film speed.
3.3.14 Identify the effect of time and/or temperature of development on speed.
3.3.15 Determine the relative speed of selected films.
3.3.16 Interpret sensitometric curves with respect to latitude.
3.3.17 Define latitude as it relates to radiographic film.
3.3.18 Discuss the inverse relationship between latitude and film contrast.
Instructional Goal
The goal is to develop knowledge and skills in methods and tools employed in quality assurance programs established to monitor all aspects of film, darkroom, and processing.
4 4.1 Screen Maintenance
4.1.1 Define poor screen-film contact.
4.1.2 Perform and interpret a test for screen-film contact.
4.1.3 List several causes of poor screen-film contact.
4.1.4 Discuss screen cleaning agents.
4.1.5 Identify artifacts on radiographs which may be caused by intensifying screens.
4.2 Care and Handling of Radiographic Film
4.2.1 Define the term "useful life" as it relates to radiographic film.
4.2.2 List the three characteristics of film that change with age.
4.2.3 Discuss proper storage of film and rotation of stock.
4.2.4 Discuss proper handling of film.
4.2.5 Identify several causes of artifacts on film caused by improper film handling.
4.3 Safelighting, Darkroom, and Illuminators
4.3.1 Perform and interpret a safelight test.
4.3.2 State the importance of employing the correct filter in a safelight.
4.3.3 State the average wattage for bulbs in safelights providing direct illumination.
4.3.4 Discuss possible causes of fog from safelights.
4.3.5 Identify darkroom and illumination quality control checks.
4.4 Automatic Processing
4.4.1 State the importance of conducting a daily processor monitoring program.
4.4.2 State the importance of developer and fixer replenisher.
4.4.3 Define contamination as it relates to processing chemicals.
4.4.4 Discuss the start-up and shut-down of an automatic processor.
4.4.5 Monitor an automatic processor for several days and then plot the results.
4.4.6 Identify common causes of unsatisfactory radiographs as a result of processing.
4.4.7 Identify and correct processor problems.
4.5 Silver Recovery
4.5.1 Discuss the disposal of processing chemicals.
4.5.2 Discuss reasons for having a silver recovery system.
4.5.3 Identify two methods of recovering silver from fixer.
Instructional Goal
The goal is to develop knowledge of the various types of film that are used in all areas of medical radiography.
5 5.1 Spectral Sensitivity
5.1.1 Explain the spectral sensitivity of the following film emulsions:
        a. standard silver halide
        b. ortho film
        c. pan film
        d. Tabular grain
5.1.2 Discuss the film commonly used for mammography.
5.2 Subtraction Technique
5.2.1 Explain the basic principle of subtraction technique.
5.2.2 Produce a radiograph using subtraction technique.
5.3 Duplication of Radiographs
5.3.1 Define the term "solarization".
5.3.2 Explain the reaction of a solarized emulsion when light exposure is increased.
5.3.3 Explain the reaction of a solarized emulsion when light exposure is decreased.
5.3.4 Define halation and state the purpose of coating one side of the film base with a dye-containing gelatin.
5.3.5 Produce a copy of a radiograph.
5.4 Computed Radiography
5.4.1 Identify the of analog plates used in computed radiology.
5.4.2 Explain how the image is retrieved from a photostimulable phosphor.
5.4.3 Discuss the handling of photostimulable phosphor plates.
5.4.4 Compare the characteristic curve of these phosphor plates to that of film.
5.4.5 Explain the following digital subtraction techniques.
        a. temporal
        b. re-registration
        c. energy
        d. hybrid
5.5 Direct Radiography
5.5.1 Discuss amorphous silicon and TFT (thin film transistors) as a detector system.
5.5.2 Discuss selenium as a detector system.
5.5.3 Discuss of a CCD as a detector system.
5.5.4 Differentiate between using scintillation detectors and direct capture image detectors.