Generating a Schrodinger-cat-like state via a coherent superposition of photonic operations
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We propose an optical scheme to generate a superposition of coherent states with enhanced size adopting an interferometric setting at the single-photon level currently available in the laboratory. Our scheme employs a nondegenerate optical parametric amplifier together with two beam splitters so that the detection of single photons at the output conditionally implements the desired superposition of second-order photonic operations. We analyze our proposed scheme by considering realistic on-off photodetectors with nonideal efficiency in heralding the success of conditional events. A high-quality performance of our scheme is demonstrated in view of various criteria such as quantum fidelity, mean output energy, and measure of quantum interference. 2012 American Physical Society.