Converting Angstroms to Meters

Worked Unit Conversion Example Problem

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An angstrom (Å) is a linear measurement used to express extremely small distances.

Angstrom to Meter Conversion Problem

This example problem demonstrates how to convert angstroms to meters:

The spectra of the element sodium have two bright yellow lines, known as the "D lines," with wavelengths of 5,889.950 Å and 5,895.924. What are the wavelengths of these lines in meters?

Solution

1 Å = 10-10 m

Set up the conversion so the desired unit will be canceled out.

In this case, we want meters to be the remaining unit.

wavelength in m = (wavelength in Å) x (10-10) m/1 Å)
wavelength in m = (wavelength in Å x 10-10) m

First line:
wavelength in m = 5,889.950 x 10-10) m
wavelength in m = 5,889.950 x 10-10 m or 5.890 x 10-7 m

Second line:
wavelength in m = 5,885.924 x 10-10) m
wavelength in m = 5,885.924 x 10-10 m or 5.886 x 10-7 m

Answer

Sodium's D lines have wavelengths of 5.890 x 10-7 m and 5.886 x 10-7 m respectively.