The nanometre (international spelling as used by the International Bureau of Weights and Measures; SI symbol: nm) or nanometer (American spelling) is a unit of length in the International System of Units (SI), equal to one billionth (short scale) of a metre (0.000000001 m) and to 1000 picometres. One nanometre can be expressed in scientific notation as 1×10−9 m, and as 1/1000000000 metres.
|1 nm in ...||... is equal to ...|
|SI units|| 1×10−9 m|
|Natural units|| 6.1877×1025 ℓP|
|imperial/US units||3.9370×10−8 in|
The nanometre was formerly known as the millimicrometre – or, more commonly, the millimicron for short – since it is 1/1000 of a micron (micrometre), and was often denoted by the symbol mμ or (more rarely and confusingly, since it logically should refer to a millionth of a micron) as μμ.
The nanometre is often used to express dimensions on an atomic scale: the diameter of a helium atom, for example, is about 0.06 nm, and that of a ribosome is about 20 nm. The nanometre is also commonly used to specify the wavelength of electromagnetic radiation near the visible part of the spectrum: visible light ranges from around 400 to 700 nm. The ångström, which is equal to 0.1 nm, was formerly used for these purposes.
Since the late 1980s, in usages such as the 32 nm and the 22 nm semiconductor node, it has also been used to describe typical feature sizes in successive generations of the ITRS Roadmap for miniaturized semiconductor device fabrication in the semiconductor industry.