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Learn how to convert angstrom to nm with Omni: you will discover that the difficulties are as small as an atom. Keep reading this short article to learn:

  • What are angstrom and nanometers?
  • How to convert angstrom to nanometers; and
  • Examples of conversions of angstrom to nm and vice-versa.

What are angstrom and nanometers?

Angstrom and nanometers are metric measurement units for length. Both of them have ample applications in physics and nanotechnology. Nanometers and angstrom, with respective symbols nm and Å, are perfect for describing objects and phenomena around the scale of a molecule or an atom. DNA coils, organic molecules, and the transistors in your computer's CPU are on the scale of the nanometer. Atoms, smaller molecules, and some structures like carbon nanotubes are measured in angstroms.

Both angstrom and nanometers are metric units; however, the angstrom is not an official SI unit. The conversions of angstrom and nanometer to meters are:

1 A˚=1010 m1 nm=109 m\begin{split} 1\ \rm{\AA} &= 10^{-10}\ \rm{m}\\ 1\ \rm{nm} &= 10^{-9}\ \rm{m} \end{split}

These relationships allow us to define a straightforward relationship between angstrom and nanometer. Let's discover it.

How to convert nm to angstrom. What is 1 nm in angstrom?

By calculating the difference between the exponents in the conversion between angstrom and nanometer to meter, we can find the direct conversion between the former two units:

1 A˚=0.1 nm1\ \rm{\AA} = 0.1\ \rm{nm}

That is, 10 angstrom is 1 nm. How did such a unit originate? Why do we still convert nm to angstrom?

The angstrom originated in the late 19th century, as physics underwent significant changes. This unit was ideal for describing spectral lines, and undoubtedly helped with the quantum revolution.

The angstrom also is the closest unit of length to the Borh's radius and measures comfortably the bonds between atoms, making it probably the best unit to describe phenomena between the molecular scale and the scale of particles as quarks (subatomic particles).

With the development of science, and the standardization of units, the angstrom slowly fell out of fashion: the nanometer largely suffices for the measurement need of science at the atomic and subatomic scale. Physicists still use the unit as a tradition and partly as a matter of convenience in specific fields.

How to convert nm to angstrom and vice-versa

To convert between nanometers and angstrom and vice-versa, you only have to multiply or divide by 1010:

  • If you are converting nanometers to angstroms, multiply by 1010.
  • If converting from angstrom to nanometers, divide by 1010.

Examples of conversion of angstrom to nm

Let's try our hand at angstrom to nm conversion. Take the atomic radius of tellurium, the element number 52: rTe=14.0 A˚r_{\rm{Te}} = 14.0\ \rm{\AA}. How many nanometers is this length? To find the answer, use the conversion above and multiply the measure in nanometers by the conversion factor we found above:

14 A˚14 A˚0.1nmA˚=1.4 nm14\ \rm{\AA} \equiv 14\ \rm{\AA} \cdot 0.1 \frac{\rm{nm}}{\rm{\AA}} = 1.4\ \rm{nm}

Tellurium is a rather large atom. Let's try the conversion of nanometers to angstroms. Take Bohr's radius, a measure of the distance between the nucleus and the electron in a neutral hydrogen atom. Its value in angstrom is a0=0.05291 nma_0 = 0.05291\ \rm{nm}. How much is the Bohr's radius in angstroms?

a0=0.05291 nm=0.05291 nm10 A˚nm=0.5291 A˚\begin{split} a_0 &= 0.05291\ \rm{nm} \equiv \\ &=0.05291\ \rm{nm}\cdot 10\ \frac{\rm{\AA}}{\rm{nm}}\\ & = 0.5291\ \rm{\AA} \end{split}

As you can see, the angstrom is a better choice to express this quantity.

Larger than atoms: conversion of lengths in other units

You can find many more relevant calculators at Omni:


How do I convert angstrom to nm?

To convert angstrom to mm, you have to follow a single step:

  1. Divide the measure in angstrom by 10 to find the measure in nm.

You can also find the measure in meters first (by dividing by 10-10) and then convert back to nanometers by multiplying by 109.

How much is 1 angstrom to nm?

1 angstrom is equal to 0.1 nm:

1 Å = 0.1 nm

That is, there are 10 angstroms in each nanometer. Think about this relationship as the one existing between millimeters and meters, just ten million times smaller!

Why do we use the angstrom?

Scientists still use the angstrom as a measurement unit for length, even though it's outside the international system (SI), because it comfortably describes objects and phenomena between the atomic and the subatomic scale.

Spectroscopy, atomic physics, and many more fields of physics, biophysics, and chemistry prefer the angstrom over the nanometer (10-9 m) or the picometer (10-12).

Davide Borchia
Imperial / US
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