PQN Home

Public Quantum Network

Where everyone can 
play with quantum particles.
Come explore with us!

You know the internet, right? This thing you’re on right now to get information?

Did you know the internet is distributed using light? Bright pulses are sent via fiber-optic cables underground, which form the network on which the internet is built. The bright pulses represent the 1's and 0's that carry data used in regular computers.

A quantum network uses the smallest possible blips of light, called photons, to share information in a fundamentally different way, based on the concepts of quantum mechanics, or the theory of how our world works at the smallest scale. Photons can be entangled with each other such that they behave like a single object even when far apart, so the measurement of one can instantaneously "affect" the other. This capability is being harnessed by research teams around the world to build quantum networks that can be used for new forms of communication and ultimately link together other new technologies such as quantum computers and quantum sensors.

With the Public Quantum Network (PQN), we aim to make sure everyone can participate in the formation of these new quantum technologies by bringing entangled photons to public spaces like libraries and schools using the same fiber-optic cables that carry the internet, so you can make real quantum measurements and explore the quantum nature of our world for yourself.

The first section of the Public Quantum Network was launched on November 4, 2023, and a permanent interaction point for the public is now installed at The Urbana Free Library. Other interaction points, or "nodes", are currently being prepared for other locations in Champaign-Urbana and the Chicago Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Visit The Urbana Free Library to see for yourself how quantum particles can "affect" each other no matter the distance between them, by doing the experiment for which the Nobel Prize in physics was awarded in 2022.

The video below describes the quantum connection. You can also explore more with the ABCs of Quantum Networks coloring book, and this cheat sheet of quantum concepts.

PQN Announcements

No announcements

Public Quantum Network:
The First Node

Animation depicting the path of a photon across the first node of the
Public Quantum Network.

The creation of the Urbana Free Library quantum node is supported by NSF Quantum Leap Challenge Institute HQAN.
Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.