When two equal photon-number states are combined on a balanced beam splitter, both output ports of the beam splitter contain only even numbers of photons. Consider the time-reversal of this interference phenomenon: the probability that a pair of photon-number-resolving detectors at the output ports of a beam splitter both detect the same number of photons depends on the overlap between the input state of the beam splitter and a state containing only even photon numbers. Here, we propose using this even-parity detection to engineer quantum states containing only even photon-number terms. As an example, we demonstrate the ability to prepare superpositions of two coherent states with opposite amplitudes, i.e. two-component Schrödinger cat states. Our scheme can prepare cat states of arbitrary size with nearly perfect fidelity. Moreover, we investigate engineering more complex even-parity states such as four-component cat states by iteratively applying our even-parity detector.
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