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Modern X-Ray Physics

Module PH2182

This module handbook serves to describe contents, learning outcome, methods and examination type as well as linking to current dates for courses and module examination in the respective sections.

Module version of SS 2019

There are historic module descriptions of this module. A module description is valid until replaced by a newer one.

Whether the module’s courses are offered during a specific semester is listed in the section Courses, Learning and Teaching Methods and Literature below.

available module versions
WS 2022/3SS 2022WS 2021/2SS 2021WS 2020/1SS 2020WS 2019/20SS 2019WS 2018/9SS 2018WS 2017/8SS 2017WS 2013/4

Basic Information

PH2182 is a semester module in English or German language at Master’s level which is offered every semester.

This Module is included in the following catalogues within the study programs in physics.

  • Specific catalogue of special courses for condensed matter physics
  • Specific catalogue of special courses for Biophysics
  • Specific catalogue of special courses for Applied and Engineering Physics
  • Focus Area Imaging in M.Sc. Biomedical Engineering and Medical Physics
  • Complementary catalogue of special courses for nuclear, particle, and astrophysics

If not stated otherwise for export to a non-physics program the student workload is given in the following table.

Total workloadContact hoursCredits (ECTS)
150 h 60 h 5 CP

Responsible coordinator of the module PH2182 in the version of SS 2019 was Klaus Achterhold.

Content, Learning Outcome and Preconditions


The module covers the basic concepts of Modern X-ray Physics with synchrotron radiation but also with modern laboratory based X-ray sources e.g. a compact-synchrotron. The focus is on imaging applications.


  • The Basics: X-ray sources and instrumentation
  • Generation of X-rays with X-ray tubes, synchrotron and the compact synchrotron MuCLS
  • Electron accelerator and storage ring at MuCLS; picosecond laser and laser cavity at MuCLS
  • X-ray interaction with matter; X-ray spectroscopy; X-ray optics and beamlines
  • X-ray detectors
  • Applications: X-ray imaging
  •     Absorption-based imaging and computed tomography
  •     X-rays as waves; propagation and coherence; near and far field
  •     X-ray phase-contrast imaging
  •     X-ray microscopy; imaging with coherent diffractive imaging and ptychography.

Learning Outcome

After successful participation in the lecture, the students will be able to

  • understand the different interactions of X-rays with matter.
  • understand the origins of absorption, phase contrast and dark-field contrast and identify the methods to measure these modalities.
  • describe the characteristics of conventional laboratory X-ray sources and synchrotron radiation sources.
  • predict the requirements for an X-ray source in terms of source size, coherence and energy resolution for a successful experiment.
  • select the detector with regard to the necessary efficiency, spatial resolution, readout speed and signal-to-noise ratio.
  • analyze and evaluate data from spectroscopic and imaging methods.


No requirements that go beyond the admission requirements for the Master's program.

Courses, Learning and Teaching Methods and Literature

Courses and Schedule

Learning and Teaching Methods

The contents of the lecture is divided into, on the one hand, basics and advanced aspects of radiation physics and, on the other hand, the technical aspects of the generation and detection of radiation. In particular the cross-connections between these two areas is addressed. Active participation of the students in the form of questions and comments is greatly appreciated. The area is fostered by exercises which include calculations as well as the "virtual" construction of a beamline under cost-benefit aspects.


The content of the lectures is presented as PowerPoint slides. Additions are written either directly into the slides or onto the blackboard. A pdf-version of the content without additions is available on Moodle shortly before the beginning of each lecture.


Philip Willmott
An introduction to Synchrotron Radiation, Wiley, 2011

Jens Als-Nielsen & Des McMorrow
Elements of Modern X-ray Physics (2nd ed.), Wiley, 2011

David Attwood,
Soft X-rays and Extreme Ultraviolet Radiation, Cambridge University Press, 1999

Klaus Wille,
Physik der Teilchenbeschleuniger und Synchrotronstrahlungsquellen, Teubner Studienbuecher, 1996

Module Exam

Description of exams and course work

There will be an oral exam of 25 minutes duration. Therein the achievement of the competencies given in section learning outcome is tested exemplarily at least to the given cognition level using comprehension questions, discussions of sketches and simple formulae.

For example an assignment in the exam might be:

  • Please sketch the spectrum of an X-ray tube, a wiggler and an undulator and explain the differences.
  • Describe the possibilities of focusing X-rays.
  • What possibilities are there to measure X-ray phase contrast?

Participation in the exercise classes is strongly recommended since the exercises prepare for the problems of the exam and rehearse the specific competencies.

Exam Repetition

The exam may be repeated at the end of the semester.

Current exam dates

Currently TUMonline lists the following exam dates. In addition to the general information above please refer to the current information given during the course.

Exam to Modern X-Ray Physics
Thu, 2024-02-15, 10:00 till 11:30 2502
Anmeldung für Prüfungstermin vor 23.03.2024. // Registration for exam date before 2024-Mar-23. till 2024-01-15 (cancelation of registration till 2024-02-08)
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