medical physics (also called biomedical physics, medical biophysics, applied physics in medicine, physics applications in medical science, radiological physics or hospital radio-physics) is, in general, the application of physics concepts, theories, and methods to medicine or healthcare. medical physics departments may be found in hospitals or universities. medical physics is generally split into two major subgroups, specifically radiation therapy and radiology. medical physics of radiation therapy can involve work such as dosimetry, linac quality assurance, and brachytherapy. medical physics of radiology involves medical imaging techniques such as magnetic resonance imaging, ultrasound, computed tomography, positron emission tomography, and x-ray.
in the case of clinical work, the term medical physicist is the title of a specific healthcare profession, usually working within a hospital or other clinic. medical physicists are often found in the following healthcare specialties: radiation oncology, diagnostic and interventional radiology (also known as medical imaging), nuclear medicine, and radiation protection.
university departments are of two types. the first type are mainly concerned with preparing students for a career as a hospital medical physicist and research focuses on improving the practice of the profession. a second type (increasingly called 'biomedical physics') has a much wider scope and may include research in any applications of physics to medicine from the study of biomolecular structure to microscopy and nanomedicine.