Microliter Definition and Example

It's equal to one cubic millimeter

A micropipette dispensing liquid into an eppendorf tube.


While the liter is the standard metric unit of volume, it's much too large to use in certain laboratory situations. Other common units include the milliliter and microliter.

Microliter Definition

A microliter is a unit of volume equal to 1/1,000,000th of a liter (one-millionth). A microliter is one cubic millimeter.

The symbol for microliter is μl or μL.

1 μL = 10-6 L = 10-3 mL.

Alternate Spelling: microlitre

Plurals: microliters, microlitres

The microliter is a small volume, yet measurable in a typical laboratory. An example of when you might use microliter volumes would be in preparation of an electrophoresis sample, when isolating DNA, or during chemical purification. Microliters are measured and dispensed using micropipettes.

Example: "My sample had a volume of 256 μL."

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Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Microliter Definition and Example." ThoughtCo, Aug. 28, 2020, thoughtco.com/definition-of-microliter-605344. Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. (2020, August 28). Microliter Definition and Example. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/definition-of-microliter-605344 Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Microliter Definition and Example." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/definition-of-microliter-605344 (accessed June 8, 2023).