The Fundamentals of the 21-cm Line
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The Fundamentals of the 21-cm Line


We review some of the fundamental physics necessary for computing the highly-redshifted spin-flip background. We first discuss the radiative transfer of the 21-cm line and define the crucial quantities of interest. We then review the processes that set the spin temperature of the transition, with a particular focus on Wouthuysen-Field coupling, which is likely to be the most important process during and after the Cosmic Dawn. Finally, we discuss processes that heat the intergalactic medium during the Cosmic Dawn, including the scattering of Lyman-alpha, cosmic microwave background, and X-ray photons.

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