How big is a nanometer?

A nanometer (nm) is 1,000 times smaller than a micrometer. It is equal to 1/1,000,000,000th or one-billionth of a meter. Atoms are smaller than the naometer. One atom measure 0.1nm-0.3nm depending upon the element.

For visualising the things at nanoscale,  Let us suppose you are shrinking a tenth of micron, width of human hair, approximately 75,000nm, and smaller and smaller to 10nm, 10nm is a perfect height to explore the nanoworld. 10nm is much larger than the world of chemistry. The molecule of caffeine  is about the size of rose leaf in nanoworld. Our red blood cell of size 6,000-8,000nm, is like a football stadium in nanoworld . So nanometer is too small to see it from our eye or a light microscope. Object this small require special tool like scanning probe microscope, Scanning electron microscopy.

Things on the nanometer scale include: Virus (30-50 nm), DNA (2.5 nm), buckyballs (~1 nm in diameter), CNT (~1 nm in diameter)

Carbon nanotube
 Virus magnified 20,000X
Virus magnified 20,000X

Some everyday object measured in nanometers

  • One inch equals 25.4 million nanometers.
  • A sheet of paper is about 100,000 nanometers thick.
  • A human hair measures roughly 50,000 to 100,000 nanometers in diameter.
  • Your fingernails grow one nanometer every second
Microsoft PowerPoint - Scale_of_Things_26MAY06.ppt
Figure shows the size of the natural object and manmade things

2 thoughts on “How big is a nanometer?

    • Thank you for visiting my website and glad you liked it. I am trying to write more on nanotechnology.

      By the way your Nanoorbit is very informative for nanotech people.


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