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In this work, the novel usage of a physically unclonable function composed of a network of Mach-Zehnder interferometers for authentication tasks is described. The physically unclonable function hardware is completely reconfigurable, allowing for a large number of seemingly independent devices to be utilized, thus imitating a large array of single-response physically unclonable functions. It is proposed that any reconfigurable array of Mach-Zehnder interferometers can be used as an authentication mechanism, not only for physical objects, but for information transmitted both classically and quantumly. The proposed use-case for a fully-optical physically unclonable function, designed with reconfigurable hardware, is to authenticate messages between a trusted and possibly untrusted party; verifying that the messages received are generated by the holder of the authentic device.

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This document was originally published in OSA Continuum by OSA Publishing. Copyright restrictions may apply.