Examples of Nanoscale Objects

Redheaded young woman in nature at sunset
A strand of hair is about 80,000 to 100,000 nanometers wide.

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You probably know that a nanometer is 1/1,000,000,000 of a meter or 10-9 meters, but do you have a feel for just how small a nanometer is? Here are some examples of nanoscale objects, plus the length of common objects expressed in nanometers.

The Amazing Smallness of Our World

  • Your fingernails grow at the rate of about 1 nanometer per second.
  • A single water molecule is about 1.5 nanometers.
  • A strand of human DNA is 2.5 nanometers in diameter.
  • A single hemoglobin molecule is 5 nanometers across.
  • A single bacterium is about 1,000 nanometers long.
  • A strand of hair is about 80,000 to 100,000 nanometers wide.
  • A sheet of paper is 100,000 nanometers thick.
  • An ant is 5 million nanometers long.
  • The human hand is 100 million nanometers long.
  • A 7-foot-tall basketball player is 2 billion nanometers tall.