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This animation illustrates the generation of the debris and ejecta clouds after a spherical aluminium projectile impacts a thin aluminium plate at approximately 7 km/s. The frame interval is about 1 microsecond.

A microsecond is a unit of time in the International System of Units (SI) equal to one millionth (0.000001 or 10−6 or 11,000,000) of a second. Its symbol is μs, sometimes simplified to us when Unicode is not available.

A microsecond is equal to 1000 nanoseconds or 11,000 of a millisecond. Because the next SI prefix is 1000 times larger, measurements of 10−5 and 10−4 seconds are typically expressed as tens or hundreds of microseconds.


  • 1 microsecond (1 μs) – cycle time for frequency 1×106 hertz (1 MHz), the inverse unit. This corresponds to radio wavelength 300 m (AM medium wave band), as can be calculated by multiplying 1 μs by the speed of light (approximately 3.00×108 m/s).
  • 1 microsecond – the length of time of a high-speed, commercial strobe light flash (see air-gap flash).
  • 1 microsecond – protein folding takes place on the order of microseconds.
  • 1.8 microseconds – the amount of time subtracted from the Earth's day as a result of the 2011 Japanese earthquake.[1]
  • 2 microseconds – the lifetime of a muonium particle
  • 2.68 microseconds – the amount of time subtracted from the Earth's day as a result of the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake.[2]
  • 3.33564095 microseconds – the time taken by light to travel one kilometre in a vacuum
  • 5.4 microseconds – the time taken by light to travel one mile in a vacuum (or radio waves point-to-point in a near vacuum)
  • 8.01 microseconds – the time taken by light to travel one mile in typical single-mode fiber optic cable
  • 10 microseconds (μs) – cycle time for frequency 100 kHz, radio wavelength 3 km
  • 18 microseconds – net amount per year that the length of the day lengthens, largely due to tidal acceleration.[3]
  • 20.8 microseconds – sampling interval for digital audio with 48,000 samples/s
  • 22.7 microseconds – sampling interval for CD audio (44,100 samples/s)
  • 38 microseconds – discrepancy in GPS satellite time per day (compensated by clock speed) due to relativity[4]
  • 50 microseconds – cycle time for highest human-audible tone (20 kHz)
  • 50 microseconds – to read the access latency for a modern solid state drive which holds non-volatile computer data[5]
  • 100 microseconds (0.1 ms) – cycle time for frequency 10 kHz
  • 125 microseconds – common sampling interval for telephone audio (8000 samples/s)[6]
  • 164 microseconds – half-life of polonium-214
  • 240 microseconds – half-life of copernicium-277
  • 260 to 480 microseconds - return trip ICMP ping time, including operating system kernel TCP/IP processing and answer time, between two gigabit ethernet devices connected to the same local area network switch fabric.
  • 277.8 microseconds – a fourth (a 60th of a 60th of a second), used in astronomical calculations by al-Biruni and Roger Bacon in 1000 and 1267 AD, respectively.[7][8]
  • 489.67 microseconds – time for light at a 1550 nm frequency to travel 100 km in a singlemode fiber optic cable (where speed of light is approximately 200 million metres per second due to its index of refraction).
  • The average human eye blink takes 350,000 microseconds (just over 13 second).
  • The average human finger snap takes 150,000 microseconds (just over 17 second).
  • A camera flash illuminates for 1,000 microseconds.
  • Standard camera shutter speed opens the shutter for 4,000 microseconds or 4 milliseconds.
  • 584542 years of microseconds fit in 64 bits: (2**64)/(1e6*60*60*24*365.25)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Gross, R.S. (14 March 2014). "Japan quake may have shortened Earth days, moved axis". JPL News. Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Retrieved 23 August 2019.
  2. ^ Cook-Anderson, Gretchen; Beasley, Dolores (January 10, 2005). "NASA Details Earthquake Effects on the Earth". NASA. Retrieved September 18, 2021.
  3. ^ MacDonald, Fiona. "Earth's Days Are Getting 2 Milliseconds Longer Every 100 Years". ScienceAlert. Retrieved 2017-03-08.
  4. ^ Richard Pogge. "GPS and Relativity". Retrieved 2011-10-01.
  5. ^ Intel Solid State Drive Product Specification
  6. ^ Kumar, Anurag; Manjunath, D.; Kuri, Joy (2008), "Application Models and Performance Issues", Wireless Networking, Elsevier, pp. 53–79, doi:10.1016/b978-012374254-4.50004-1, ISBN 978-0-12-374254-4, retrieved 2022-08-08
  7. ^ al-Biruni (1879). The chronology of ancient nations: an English version of the Arabic text of the Athâr-ul-Bâkiya of Albîrûnî, or "Vestiges of the Past". Translated by Sachau C Edward. W. H. Allen. pp. 147–149. OCLC 9986841.
  8. ^ R Bacon (2000) [1928]. The Opus Majus of Roger Bacon. translator: BR Belle. University of Pennsylvania Press. table facing page 231. ISBN 978-1-85506-856-8.

External links[edit]