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Davide G. Marangon1, Giuseppe Vallone1, and Paolo Villoresi1
Scientific Reports 4, 5490 (2014)

1Department of Information Engineering, University of Padova, via Gradenigo 6/B, 35131 Padova, Italy

Random numbers represent a fundamental ingredient for secure communications and numerical simulation as well as to games and in general to Information Science. Physical processes with intrinsic unpredictability may be exploited to generate genuine random numbers. The optical propagation in strong atmospheric turbulence is here taken to this purpose, by observing a laser beam after a 143 km free-space path. In addition, we developed an algorithm to extract the randomness of the beam images at the receiver without post-processing. The numbers passed very selective randomness tests for qualification as genuine random numbers. The extracting algorithm can be easily generalized to random images generated by different physical processes.

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