Superpositions of macroscopically distinct quantum states, introduced in Schrödinger's famous Gedankenexperiment, are an epitome of quantum ‘strangeness’ and a natural tool for determining the validity limits of quantum physics. The optical incarnation of Schrödinger's cat (SC)—the superposition of two opposite-amplitude coherent states—is also the backbone of continuous-variable quantum information processing. However, the existing preparation methods limit the amplitudes of the component coherent states, which curtails the state's usefulness for fundamental and practical applications. Here, we convert a pair of negative squeezed SC states of amplitude 1.15 to a single positive SC state of amplitude 1.85 with a success probability of ∼0.2. The protocol consists in bringing the initial states into interference on a beamsplitter and a subsequent heralding quadrature measurement in one of the output channels. Our technique can be realized iteratively, so arbitrarily high amplitudes can, in principle, be reached.
At a glance
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