An experiment is performed the aim of which is to investigate the phase fluctuations of a laser beam artificially generated thermal turbulence. This is achieved by observing the displacements of a fringe pattern obtained by means of a Mach-Zehnder interferometer. The temporal decay of the mean square refractive index fluctuation is studied. An interpretation of the results is given on the basis of the theory of an isotropic turbulent scalar field.
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