How to Convert From Micromolar to Nanomolar

Written by michael judge
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How to Convert From Micromolar to Nanomolar
A nanomolar solution would be extremely dilute. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

Chemists frequently use molarity to describe the concentration of chemical solutions. A solution which is 1 molar (abbreviated 1 M) has one mole of chemical per litre of solution, with a mole being 6.02 x 10^23 atoms or molecules. It is sometimes more convenient to describe very dilute solutions in terms of being nanomolar (nM) or micromolar (um). The prefixes nano and micro come from the metric system and correspond to one billionth and one millionth respectively. You can convert the concentration of a solution from micromolar to nanomolar using the ratio of the two prefixes.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Calculator
  • Table of metric prefix factors

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  1. 1

    Enter the value of your solution concentration, in units of micromolarity, into the calculator. For example, if your solution concentration was 0.350 um, you would enter 0.350

  2. 2

    Look up the magnitude factors for the prefixes "nano" and "micro" on a list of metric prefix factors. You can find such a list on the website of the United States Metric Association. You will find the factor for nano is 0.000000001 (or 10^-9) and that for micro is 0.000001 (or 10^-6).

  3. 3

    Take the ratio of the prefix factors, dividing the factor for the prefix you will end up with (nano) into the prefix you started with (micro). The calculation looks like this; 0.000001/0.000000001 = 1,000. This value is the number of nanomoles in a micromole.

  4. 4

    Multiply the value you just entered by 1,000. Since there are 1,000 nanomoles in a micromole, this converts the units of your concentration into nanomoles per litre, so you now have the nanomolar concentration. In the case of the example, you would calculate 0.350 x 1,000 = 350 nM.

Tips and warnings

  • You can convert back from nM to um by dividing by 1,000.

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