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We present a method for directly obtaining the parity of a Gaussian state of light without recourse to photon-number counting. The scheme uses only a simple balanced homodyne technique and intensity correlation. Thus interferometric schemes utilizing coherent or squeezed light and parity detection may be practically implemented for an arbitrary photon flux. Specifically, we investigate a two-mode, squeezed light, Mach-Zehnder interferometer and show how the parity of the output state may be obtained. We also show that the detection may be described independently of the parity operator and that this 'parity-by-proxy' measurement has the same signal as traditional parity. © IOP Publishing Ltd and Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft.

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New Journal of Physics