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Converting Angstroms to Nanometers

Worked Unit Conversion Example Problem


This example problem demonstrates how to convert angstroms to nanometers. Angrstroms (Å) and nanometers (nm) are both linear measurements used to express extremely small distances.


The spectra of the element mercury has a bright green line with a wavelength of 5460.47 Å. What is the wavelength of this light in nanometers?


1 Å = 10-10 m
1 nm = 10-9 m

Set up the conversion so the desired unit will be cancelled out. In this case, we want nanometers to be the remaining unit.

wavelength in nm = (wavelength in Å) x (10-10 m/1 Å) x (1 nm/10-9 m)
wavelength in nm = (wavelength in Å) x (10-10/10-9 nm/Å)
wavelength in nm = (wavelength in Å) x (10-1) nm/Å)
wavelength in nm = (5460.47/10) nm
wavelength in nm = 546.047 nm


The green line in mercury's spectra has a wavelength of 546.047 nm.

It may be easier to remember there are 10 angstroms in 1 nanometer. This would mean that 1 angrstrom is a tenth of a nanometer and a conversion from angrstroms to nanometers would mean moving the decimal place one position to the left.

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