A Caltech Library Service

The Faint End of the Quasar Luminosity Function at z ~ 4

Glikman, Eilat and Bogosavljević, Milan and Djorgovski, S. G. and Stern, Daniel and Dey, Arjun and Jannuzi, Buell T. and Mahabal, Ashish (2010) The Faint End of the Quasar Luminosity Function at z ~ 4. Astrophysical Journal, 710 (2). pp. 1498-1514. ISSN 0004-637X.

PDF - Published Version
See Usage Policy.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


The evolution of the quasar luminosity function (QLF) is one of the basic cosmological measures providing insight into structure formation and mass assembly in the universe. We have conducted a spectroscopic survey to find faint quasars (–26.0 < M_(1450) < –22.0) at redshifts z = 3.8-5.2 in order to measure the faint end of the QLF at these early times. Using available optical imaging data from portions of the NOAO Deep Wide-Field Survey and the Deep Lens Survey, we have color-selected quasar candidates in a total area of 3.76 deg^2. Thirty candidates have R ≤ 23 mag. We conducted spectroscopic follow-up for 28 of our candidates and found 23 QSOs, 21 of which are reported here for the first time, in the 3.74 < z < 5.06 redshift range. We estimate our survey completeness through detailed Monte Carlo simulations and derive the first measurement of the density of quasars in this magnitude and redshift interval. We find that the binned luminosity function (LF) is somewhat affected by the K-correction used to compute the rest-frame absolute magnitude at 1450 Å. Considering only our R ≤ 23 sample, the best-fit single power law (Φ ∝ L^β) gives a faint-end slope β = –1.6 ± 0.2. If we consider our larger, but highly incomplete sample going 1 mag fainter, we measure a steeper faint-end slope –2 < β < –2.5. In all cases, we consistently find faint-end slopes that are steeper than expected based on measurements at z ~ 3. We combine our sample with bright quasars from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey to derive parameters for a double-power-law LF. Our best fit finds a bright-end slope, α = –2.4 ± 0.2, and faint-end slope, β = –2.3 ± 0.2, without a well-constrained break luminosity. This is effectively a single power law, with β = –2.7 ± 0.1. We use these results to place limits on the amount of ultraviolet radiation produced by quasars and find that quasars are able to ionize the intergalactic medium at these redshifts.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription DOIArticle
Glikman, Eilat0000-0003-0489-3750
Djorgovski, S. G.0000-0002-0603-3087
Stern, Daniel0000-0003-2686-9241
Dey, Arjun0000-0002-4928-4003
Jannuzi, Buell T.0000-0002-1578-6582
Mahabal, Ashish0000-0003-2242-0244
Additional Information:© 2010 The American Astronomical Society. Received 2009 June 10; accepted 2009 December 21; published 2010 February 1. We thank Fabio Fontanot for sharing data from the SDSS+GOODS QLF calculation. We are grateful to the staff of W. M. Keck Observatory for their assistance during our observing runs. This work was supported in part by the NSF grants AST-0407448 and AST-0909182, and by the Ajax foundation. The work of D.S. was carried out at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with NASA. This work makes use of image data from the NOAO Deep Wide-Field Survey (NDWFS) and the DLS as distributed by the NOAO Science Archive. NOAO is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA), Inc. under a cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Ajax FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:cosmology: observations; galaxies: luminosity function, mass function; large-scale structure of universe; quasars: general; surveys
Issue or Number:2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20100304-140339657
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:The Faint End of the Quasar Luminosity Function at z ~ 4 Eilat Glikman, Milan Bogosavljević, S. G. Djorgovski, Daniel Stern, Arjun Dey, Buell T. Jannuzi, and Ashish Mahabal 2010 ApJ 710 1498-1514 doi: 10.1088/0004-637X/710/2/1498
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:17665
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:12 Mar 2010 19:21
Last Modified:02 Nov 2019 19:18

Repository Staff Only: item control page