When two particles interact, they become "entangled," which means one particle affects the other at a distance. The connection lasts long after they are separated.
In entanglement, particles also go into a state called superposition, which opens the way to a hoped-for supercomputers.
Today's computers use a binary code, in which data is stored in a bit that could be either zero or 1.
But in superposition, a quantum bit, known as a qubit, could be either zero or one, or both zero and one at the same time.
This potentially offers a massive increase in data storage, greatly helping number-crunching tasks such as running climate-change models and breaking encrypted codes.
On Monday, Shinya Yamanaka of Japan and John Gurdon of Britain won the Nobel Medicine Prize for work in cell programming, a frontier that has raised dreams of replacement tissue for people crippled by disease.
The Nobel prize announcements continue on Wednesday with the announcement of the chemistry prize, followed by the literature prize on Thursday.