Knowing how to convert micrometers is a crucial skill in many fields of science, but it can also be helpful for other reasons, even just for curiosity. Keep reading to learn:

  • What is a micrometer?
  • The conversion of micrometer to millimeter (um to mm conversion) and vice-versa (mm to um conversion).
  • How to calculate the conversion from microns to inches and other imperial units.

And much more!

What is a micrometer?

Micrometers, or microns, are a measurement unit of length. As you can see from their official name, they are a metric unit: knowing this, we can define its relationship with the meter.

1 µm=106 m\footnotesize1\ \mathrm{µm} = 10^{-6}\ \mathrm{m}

The micron equals a millionth of a meter. Let's reverse the equation to see how many microns we need to make a meter, but the answer is straightforward:

1 m=1,000,000 µm\footnotesize1\ \mathrm{m} = 1,\!000,\!000\ \mathrm{µm}

You need a million micrometers to build a meter. We are not surprised to learn that the microns find valuable applications in science and technology: they lay halfway through the scale of our daily life and the scale of molecules, atoms, and quantum physics.

How to convert between micrometer and metric units

Converting micrometers to any other metric unit is straightforward as long as you remember the exponent associated with each unit. In the following table, you can see the fraction of a meter corresponding to the most important metric units:

Unit

Symbol

Equal to...

picometer

1 pm1\ \mathrm{pm}

1012 m10^{-12}\ \mathrm{m}

nanometer

1 nm1\ \mathrm{nm}

109 m10^{-9}\ \mathrm{m}

micrometer

1 µm{\bf 1\ \mathrm{\bold{µm}}}

106 m\bold{10^{-6}}\ \mathrm{\bold{m}}

millimeter

1 mm1\ \mathrm{mm}

103 m10^{-3}\ \mathrm{m}

centimeter

1 cm1\ \mathrm{cm}

102 m10^{-2}\ \mathrm{m}

meter

1 m1\ \mathrm{m}

100 m10^{0}\ \mathrm{m}

kilometer

1 km1\ \mathrm{km}

103 m10^{3}\ \mathrm{m}

To convert between micron and any other metric unit, simply refer to this table. If you want, for example, to find the conversion from mm to micrometers, consider the difference between the exponents of these two units:

1 mm=103 µm\footnotesize1\ \mathrm{mm} = 10^3\ \mathrm{µm}

The conversion of micron to inch and other imperial units

Converting microns to imperial units is just slightly more challenging. The additional step involves switching between the two systems. You can do it in a specific position so as not to remember too many conversion factors. We prefer to perform the switch between meters and feet. The steps to convert a micron to an inch would then be:

  1. Convert micron to meters: divide by 10610^{6}.
  2. Convert from meters to feet: multiply by 3.2813.281.
  3. Convert feet to inches: multiply by 1212.

To convert to any other imperial unit, simply change the last step to the one you need!

Example of conversion from micron to mm and vice-versa.

A human hair has an average diameter of 50 µm50\ \mathrm{µm}. What's the conversion from micron to mm? We need to divide this measure by 10001000:

50 µm50 µm1000 µm/mm=0.05 mm\footnotesize\begin{split} 50\ \mathrm{µm} &\equiv\frac{50\ \mathrm{µm}}{1000\ \mathrm{µm/mm}}\\[1em] &=0.05\ \mathrm{mm} \end{split}

For the conversion of mm to micrometers, we will consider the finest resolution of the human eye at a distance of about 15 cm15\ \mathrm{cm}: 0.026 mm0.026\ \mathrm{mm}. To find to how many micros this measure corresponds, we multiply by 10001000:

0.026 mm0.026 mm1000 µm/mm=26 µm\footnotesize\begin{split} 0.026\ \mathrm{mm} &\equiv0.026\ \mathrm{mm} \cdot 1000\ \mathrm{µm/mm}\\ &=26\ \mathrm{µm} \end{split}

You can see almost all types of human hair individually with your naked eye!

More than the micrometer converter

You can find many more relevant calculators at Omni:

FAQ

How much is 1 inch in micron?

1 inch corresponds to 25,400 µm. To find this correspondence, follow these steps:

  1. Convert 1 inch to feet: 1 in = 1/12 ft = 0.08333 ft.

  2. Convert the result of the previous step to meters: 0.08333 ft = 0.3048 × 0.0254 m.

  3. Convert the measure in meters in microns by multiplying it by 106:

    0.0254 m = 0.0254 m × 1,000,000 = 25,400.

That's it!

How many micron are in a millimeter?

The conversion from mm to micrometer requires you to know how many microns are in a millimeter. There are 1,000 microns to a millimeter. To calculate the conversion of mm to microns, multiply by 1000 a measure in mm. To convert micrometers to mm (the opposite conversion), then you have to divide the measurement by 1,000.

If you measured 0.45 mm, you can find how many microns this measure corresponds with the following operation:

0.45 mm = 0.45 mm × 1000 µm/mm = 450 µm.

What is the conversion from micrometer to cm?

The conversion from micrometer to cm involves multiplying or dividing by 100. Since micrometers are far smaller than centimeters, when you convert from µm to cm, you need to divide by 100. When passing from centimeters to micrometers, the measure must increase. Hence we multiply by 100.

Davide Borchia
Micrometers
μm
Metric
m
Imperial / US
in
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