A laboratory turbulence simulation based on irregular micro-optical structures has been studied. The phase distributions are derived from Kolmogorov spectra with different Fried parameters r(o) by using the fast Fourier transform technique. A mask-shifting method has been invented for generating the designed irregular phase on a quartz substrate. The fabricated element is rotated by a motor to construct a turbulence generator. The dynamic phase produced by the generator is measured in real time with Shack-Hartmann sensor. The resulting power spectrum and the Fried parameter agree with the expected ones. Some issues associated with the simulation of turbulence are discussed. (C) 2008 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers.