Encyclopedia > Angstrom

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An angstrom (Å), is a unit of length, which equals 10-10 metres, 0.1 nanometres or 100 picometres. It is named after the Swedish physicist Anders Jonas Ångström, one of the founders of spectroscopy. This unit is sometimes used for measuring the sizes of atoms, whose radii are between 0.25 and 3 Å. For a list of objects of size 1 to 10 Å, see 1 E-10 m.

This is a non-SI unit, and is therefore considered deprecated. It is listed in Table 8 of the SI brochure ("Other non-SI units currently accepted for use with the International System"). BIPM explains "Table 8 lists some other non-SI units which are currently accepted for use with the SI to satisfy the needs of commercial, legal and specialized scientific interests. These units should be defined in relation to the SI in every document in which they are used. Their use is not encouraged.".

Nanometres or picometres can easily be used instead. However, despite its official deprecation, some scientists continue to use it. Some claim it is a more convenient unit, corresponding closer to the size of the items being discussed, e.g. atoms, grains of interstellar dust, etc.

See also: Conversion of units.

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