Module Overview

Physics of Medical Devices/Feedback and Control

In this section a brief description of the general rationale for, and purpose of, the module should be provided, indicating at whom the module is aimed and if, for example, it is an introductory, basic, intermediate or advanced module. This section should also include if there are discrete module elements / components.

This module has two sections. The first section looks at various types of Medical Device and examines the physics/science underlying the operation and production of those devices, such as crucial device material properties or the industrial environment and processes required to manufacture them.

The second section of the module covers basic concepts in feedback systems and control, with particular reference to physical and biological sciences.

Module Code

PHYS 2822

ECTS Credits


*Curricular information is subject to change

Indicative syllabus covered in the module and / or in its discrete elements

Physics of medical devices (12 lectures)

  • Definition of a medical device,

  • Categories of medical devices,

  • Design processes used to develop medical devices,

  • Evaluation of Medical Devices,

  • Cleanroom technology and total quality management,

  • Physics underpinning the design, manufacture and evaluation of the following types of medical devices,

  • Implantable Medical Devices,

  • Vascular devices,

  • Total Artificial Heart,

  • Cardiac Pacemakers,

  • External Communicating Medical devices,

  • Heart and Lung Machine,

  • Haemodialysis machine,

  • Contact Medical Devices,

  • Non-Ionising Therapy devices (ultrasound, Ultraviolet and Radiofrequency),

  • Ensocopes.


Feedback and Control (12 lectures)

  • Introduction to feedback and control

Introduction to feedback: positive and negative, with examples from biology and physics. Distinguishing between positive and negative feedback. Applications of feedback: Identifying the elements of an engineering feedback system; Some biological feedback systems; Some bioengineering and medical applications of feedback.

  • Controllers

The concept of open-loop and closed-loop control. The effect of using an on-off controller in closed loop. The effects of using a Proportional Integral Derivative (PID) controller in closed loop, understanding the effects of each term. Tuning a PID controller using the ultimate cycle method. Laboratory work.

  • Empirical model building:

The six stages of the model building procedure. Two process reaction curve methods for model development. Evaluate whether experimental data may be used to develop a process model. Laboratory work.

  • Bioengineering

The frequency response concept. The application of frequency response ideas to determine the response of the pupil of the human eye to light. Determination of a Bode plot from frequency response data. Creation of a Bode plot of the eye-brain-hand motor response (in the laboratory). Other methods to measure human reaction time. Other bioengineering applications that use frequency response data. Current bioengineering applications.


Laboratories associated with this module

  • Web laboratory: Road maps - a guide to learning system dynamics.

  • Web laboratory: On-off, P, PI control of a water level system.

  • The PI and PID control of a pilot scale heating and ventilation plant.

  • Estimation of the transfer function model of the motor response of a human using a Bode plot.

  • Ultrasound Therapy output measurement

  • Physics of Fibre optics and Endoscopes.

Statements about the various types of learning and teaching methods that are used in the delivery of the module

Learning will largely take place in the classroom and in the laboratories. In addition, extensive use will be made of web-based facilities such as 1) appropriate on-line resources 2) appropriate problem solving exercises 3) further reading.

Module Content & Assessment
Assessment Breakdown %
Formal Examination42
Other Assessment(s)58