Nanopositioning and nanomeasuring machines (NPM-machines), developed at Technische Universität Ilmenau, have provided high-precision measurement and positioning of objects across ten decades, from 20 pm resolution up to 200 mm measuring range. They work on the basis of the error-minimal, extended six degrees of freedom Abbe-comparator principle, with high-precision fibre-coupled laser interferometers and optical or atomic force probes. These machines are suitable not only for measuring but also for positioning with an outstanding sub-nanometre performance. Measurements on precision step heights up to 5 mm show a repeatability of 20 pm. Consecutive step positioning of 80 pm can be demonstrated. With the new approach of an atomic clock-stabilized He–Ne-laser via a high-stable-frequency comb, we achieve a frequency stability of less than 300 Hz, respectively 0.6 ċ 10−12 relative frequency stability within 1 h at an integration time of 1 s. For the first time, we can demonstrate a direct, permanent and unbroken chain of traceability between the laser interferometric measurement within an NPM-machine and a GPS satellite-based atomic clock. This paper presents a closer insight into the scientific and metrological background as well as unrivalled measurement results, and discusses the great possibilities of this new technology.