Due to increasing demands on the photolithography of integrated circuits and the progress of interferometric linear encoders, length measurement systems with a reproducibility under 3 nm are used in industry today, whereas the connection to the unit of length exhibits an uncertainty of about 25 nm. To resolve this problem a new one dimensional length comparator, the nanometer comparator, was developed in a cooperation between the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB), the Dr. Johannes Heidenhain GmbH and Werth Me#technik GmbH. The nanometer comparator will be able to perform one dimensional calibrations of photo masks, line-graduation scales, incremental linear encoders and laser interferometers in one axis up to a maximum length of 610 mm. To ensure the highest level of measurement performance, the interferometer is completely located in vacuum using metal bellows, whilst the calibration objects can be mounted under atmospheric conditions. The interferometer set-up compensates the dilatation and the bending of the granite base and minimizes the measurement circle of the comparator. This will minimize the influence of thermal and mechanical distortions. The interferometer design can be used with a heterodyne or a homodyne signal detection electronics. Due to their high power dissipation, the laser is arranged far apart from the comparator and light is fed to the interferometers by means of glass fibers. The light source is a frequency-doubled Nd:YAG laser frequency stabilized by an iodine absorption line. Different measuring systems for the structure localization can be attached to an universal sensor carrier on a solid bridge above the measuring carriage. Incremental reading heads and two photoelectric microscopes are now available for this purpose.