How Big is a Micron
Name: Ron S.
Date: Monday, September 30, 2002
How big is 13 microns? I am trying to understand how big
the wires are in the new computer chips say atoms wide for example.
1 micron = 1 000 000th of a metre [its proper French spelling] or,
approximately, 0.00003937 inches;
hence 13 microns = 13 times that, approximately 0.0005118 inches.
A micron is 1 millionth of a meter, 10-6 or 10-3 of a millimeter. Very tiny.
It is abbreviated with the greek letter for M, or the mu.
Thirteen microns is a little bigger than 1/100 of a millimeter. It's much,
much bigger than an atom is wide. The wavelength of red light is a little
shorter than a micron. The smallest atoms are about two ngstroms in
diameter. An ngstrom is 1/10,000 of a micron.
Richard E. Barrans Jr., Ph.D.
Director of Academic Programs
PG Research Foundation, Darien, Illinois
1 meter = 10^12 picometers = 10^9 nanometers = 10^6 micrometers (microns).
A typical atomic radius is of the order of 100 picometers. The atomic radius
of gold (Au) for example is listed as 144 picometers, silicon is 117
picometers. So 13 microns (micrometers) is quite large compared to the
typical size of atoms.
I think it would be interesting to note that the gentleman asking the
question asks how big 13 microns is, in reference to the wire
interconnects of today's computer chips. What I think he meant to ask is
how big 0.13 microns is, as that is the current standard line width in
computer chips currently in production. If this is noted in the answer, it
would really illustrate how amazing chip technology is that we can build
chips that house many millions of transistors with feature sizes so
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