A nanometer (or “nanometre”) is a unit of measurement that is used to measure length. A nanometer is one billionth of a meter, which is why nanometers are not used to measure long distances. Rather, they are used to measure very small things such as atomic structures or transistors that are found in modern CPUs .
A single nanometer is about one million times smaller than a millimeter. Whereas if you take one-thousandth of a millimeter, then you have one micrometer, or a single micron. Whereas if you divide the same micron with 1,000, then you get a nanometer.
There is no need to say that a nanometer is not too small. Since integrated circuits, such as computer processors have many microscopic components, nanometers are much more useful to measure their size. While many different eras processors are defined in nanometers, the number of which defines the distance between transistors and other components in a CPU.
The smaller the number, the more transistors can be placed in the same area, which allows to create faster, more efficient processor designs.
The Intel’s processor line, for example, includes chips that are based on 90-nanometer, 65-nanometer, 45-nanometer, and 32-nanometer processes. In 2011, Intel released chips that were designed using a 22-nanometer process. Intel’s “Broadwell” design, introduced in 2014, uses a 14-nanometer process.