Interferometry and the Global 21-cm Signal

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The global redshifted 21-cm radiation background is expected to be a powerful probe of the re-heating and re-ionization of the intergalactic medium. However, its measurement is technically challenging: one must extract the small, frequency-dependent signal from under much brighter and spectrally smooth foregrounds. Traditional approaches to study the global signal have used single-antenna systems, where one must calibrate out frequency-dependent structure in the overall system gain, as well as remove the noise bias from auto-correlating a single amplifier output. I will review these approaches, and critically examine several recent proposals to measure the global background using interferometric setups. In particular, using very general principles, I will show that the latters' sensitivity is directly related to two characteristics: the cross-talk between the readout channels (i.e. the signal picked up at one antenna when the other one is driven) and the correlated noise due to thermal fluctuations of lossy elements (e.g. absorbers or the ground) radiating into both channels. I will also briefly discuss the implications and future prospects for interferometric methods.