Nano- (symbol n) is a unit prefix meaning "one billionth". Used primarily with the metric system, this prefix denotes a factor of 10−9 or 0.000000001. It is frequently encountered in science and electronics for prefixing units of time and length.

Examples:

  • One nanometer is about the length that a fingernail grows in one second.
  • Three gold atoms lined up are about one nanometer long.
  • If a toy marble were scaled down to one nanometer wide, Earth would scale to about 1 meter (3.3 ft) wide.[1]
  • One nanosecond is about the time required for light to travel 30 cm in air, or 20 cm in an optical fiber.

The prefix derives from the Greek νάνος (Latin nános), meaning "dwarf". The General Conference on Weights and Measures (CGPM) officially endorsed the usage of nano as a standard prefix in 1960.

When used as a prefix for something other than a unit of measure (as for example in words like "nanoscience"), nano refers to nanotechnology, or means "on a scale of nanometres". See nanoscopic scale.

Prefix Base 10 Decimal English word Adoption[nb 1]
Name Symbol Short scale Long scale
yotta Y  1024 1000000000000000000000000  septillion  quadrillion 1991
zetta Z  1021 1000000000000000000000  sextillion  trilliard 1991
exa E  1018 1000000000000000000  quintillion  trillion 1975
peta P  1015 1000000000000000  quadrillion  billiard 1975
tera T  1012 1000000000000  trillion  billion 1960
giga G  109 1000000000  billion  milliard 1960
mega M  106 1000000  million 1873
kilo k  103 1000  thousand 1795
hecto h  102 100  hundred 1795
deca da  101 10  ten 1795
 100 1  one
deci d  10−1 0.1  tenth 1795
centi c  10−2 0.01  hundredth 1795
milli m  10−3 0.001  thousandth 1795
micro μ  10−6 0.000001  millionth 1873
nano n  10−9 0.000000001  billionth  milliardth 1960
pico p  10−12 0.000000000001  trillionth  billionth 1960
femto f  10−15 0.000000000000001  quadrillionth  billiardth 1964
atto a  10−18 0.000000000000000001  quintillionth  trillionth 1964
zepto z  10−21 0.000000000000000000001  sextillionth  trilliardth 1991
yocto y  10−24  0.000000000000000000000001  septillionth  quadrillionth 1991
  1. ^ Prefixes adopted before 1960 already existed before SI. The introduction of the CGS system was in 1873.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Size of the Nanoscale". National Nanotechnology Initiative. Retrieved 2020-05-14.