Lesson 3: The Best Things Come in Small Packages
Pluck a hair from your head. (Really.) Now look at it. It isn’t very thick, is it? Well, to a microprocessor manufacturer, that hair looks like a telephone pole. That’s because a human hair is about 2,000 times wider than a transistor on a microprocessor. Wires between transistors are even thinner. They’re more than 8,000 times thinner than a human hair.
See a human hair up close.
How wide is a human hair? A human hair is approximately 80 to 100 microns in diameter. In comparison, a transistor is just 0.065 microns wide.
What’s a micron? It’s a very small metric measurement. You’re probably familiar with centimeter marks on a ruler. (If not, look for them the next time you have a ruler. At one end of the ruler, you should also see a small CM label.) A micron is .0001 of a centimeter. That’s 10,000 times smaller!
A microprocessor transistor then is 0.0000065 centimeters wide. (Want that in inches? It’s 0.00000255 of an inch.)