Abstract

This paper investigates the extent to which atmospheric turbulence can be exploited as a random bit generator. Atmospheric turbulence is considered an inherently random process due to the complex inhomogeneous system composition and its sensitivity to changes in pressure, temperature, humidity, and wind conditions. A self-calibrating Mach–Zehnder interferometer was used to collect phase fluctuations in the temporal domain introduced to an optical beam propagating through the atmosphere. The recorded phase fluctuations were converted into bit streams that were further analyzed in order to search for evidence of randomness. Empirical data and results that characterize the degree of randomness produced in the temporal phase component of an optical wave propagating through the atmosphere are presented.

© 2015 Optical Society of America

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