The nm to m or nanometers to meters conversion is common in science, particularly when you deal with wavelengths of light or tiny objects like atoms and molecules. One nanometer (American) or nanometre (international) is 10-9 meters or 1/1,000,000,000 meters. In other words, a nanometer is one-billionth of a meter. The conversion is easy, although you work with exponents. Here’s what you do, along with examples of the conversion.
nm to m Conversion Factor
- 1 m = 109 nm = 1,000,000,000 nm
- 1 nm = 10-9 m = 0.000000001 m
Rewriting the conversion factor as a formula, you get:
distance in meters = distance in nanometers x 10-9 = distance in nanometers / 109
It does not matter which version of the formula you use.
How to Convert Nanometers to Meters (nm to m)
- Convert nanometers to meters by multiplying nanometers by 10-9 (0.000000001) or by dividing by 109 (1000000000).
- If the idea of entering the exponents into your calculator intimidates you, just use this simple method of working with exponents. Convert nm to m by subtracting 9 from the exponent.
- This is the same as moving the decimal point 9 spaces to the left.
nm to m (Nanometers to Meters) Example Problem
For example, a helium-neon (red) laser has a wavelength of 632.8 nanometers. Convert this into meters.
Solve the problem by setting it up so the nanometers cancel out, leaving meters:
distance in m = (distance in nm) x (1 m/109 nm)
Note: 1/109 = 10-9
distance in m = (632.8 x 10-9) m
distance in m = 6.328 x 10-7 m
632.8 nanometers equals 6.328 x 10-7 meters.
You get the same answer by moving the decimal point 9 spaces to the left:
632.8 = 0.0000006328 m = 6.328 x 10-7
How to Convert Meters to Nanometers (m to nm)
- Convert meters to nanometers (m to nm) by dividing meters by 10-9 or multiplying by 109.
- Alternatively, convert m to by writing the value in meters in scientific notation and adding 9 to the exponent.
- This is the same as moving the decimal point 9 spaces to the right.
m to nm (Meters to Nanometers) Example Problem
For example, the longest wavelength of visible light most people see is red that is nearly infrared. The wavelength of this light is 7 x 10-7 meters. What is this wavelength in nanometers?
length in nm = (length in m) x (109 nm/m)
The meters unit cancels out, leaving nm.
length in nm = (7 x 10-7) x (109) nm
or, you could write this as:
length in nm = (7 x 10-7) x (1 x 109) nm
When you multiply powers of 10, just add the exponents. In this case, you add -7 to 9, which gives you 2:
length of red light in nm = 7 x 102 nm = 700 nm
- Jagmohan, Singh (2011). Manual of Practical Electrotherapy. Jaypee Brothers Publishers. ISBN: 978-93-5025-059-4.
- NASA. “Multiwavelength Milky Way: Electromagnetic Spectrum.”