Converting Nanometers to Angstroms

Worked Unit Conversion Example Problem

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

nm to A Conversion Problem

The spectra of the element mercury have a bright green line with a wavelength of 546.047 nm. What is the wavelength of this light in angstroms?

Solution

1 nm = 10-9 m
1 Å = 10-10 m

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

In this case, we want angstroms to the remaining unit.

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

Answer

The green line in mercury's spectra has a wavelength of 5460.47 Å

It may be easier to remember there are 10 angstroms in 1 nanometer. This would mean a conversion from nanometers to angstroms would mean moving the decimal place one place to the right.