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Keywords:

  • cosmology: theory;
  • diffuse radiation;
  • large-scale structure of Universe

ABSTRACT

In the absence of complex astrophysical processes that characterize the reionization era, the 21-cm emission from neutral hydrogen (H i) in the post-reionization epoch is believed to be an excellent tracer of the underlying dark matter distribution. Assuming a background cosmology, it is modelled through (i) a bias function b(k, z), which relates H i to the dark matter distribution and (ii) a mean neutral fraction (inline image) which sets its amplitude. In this paper, we investigate the nature of large-scale H i bias. The post-reionization H i is modelled using gravity only N-body simulations and a suitable prescription for assigning gas to the dark matter haloes. Using the simulated bias as the fiducial model for H i distribution at z≤ 4, we have generated a hypothetical data set for the 21-cm angular power spectrum (C) using a noise model based on parameters of an extended version of the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT). The binned C is assumed to be measured with S/N ≳ 4 in the range 400 ≤ℓ≤ 8000 at a fiducial redshift z= 2.5. We explore the possibility of constraining b(k) using the principal component analysis on these simulated data. Our analysis shows that in the range 0.2 < k < 2 Mpc−1, the simulated data set cannot distinguish between models exhibiting different k-dependences, provided 1 ≲b(k) ≲ 2 which sets the 2σ limits. This justifies the use of linear bias model on large scales. The largely uncertain inline image is treated as a free parameter resulting in degradation of the bias reconstruction. The given simulated data are found to constrain the fiducial inline image with an accuracy of ∼4 per cent (2σ error). The method outlined here could be successfully implemented on future observational data sets to constrain b(k, z) and inline image and thereby enhance our understanding of the low-redshift Universe.