We present the quasar luminosity function (LF) at z = 7, measured with 35 spectroscopically confirmed quasars at 6.55 < z < 7.15. The sample of 22 quasars from the Subaru High-z Exploration of Low-Luminosity Quasars (SHELLQs) project, combined with 13 brighter quasars in the literature, covers an unprecedentedly wide range of rest-frame ultraviolet magnitudes over -28 < M 1450 < -23. We found that the binned LF flattens significantly toward the faint end populated by the SHELLQs quasars. A maximum likelihood fit to a double power-law model has a break magnitude M1450∗=-25.60-0.30+0.40, a characteristic density φ∗=1.35-0.30+0.47 Gpc-3 mag-1, and a bright-end slope β=-3.34-0.57+0.49, when the faint-end slope is fixed to α = -1.2 as observed at z ≤ 6. The overall LF shape remains remarkably similar from z = 4 to 7, while the amplitude decreases substantially toward higher redshifts, with a clear indication of an accelerating decline at z ≥ 6. The estimated ionizing photon density, 1048.2±0.1 s-1 Mpc-3, is less than 1% of the critical rate to keep the intergalactic medium ionized at z = 7, and thus indicates that quasars are not a major contributor to cosmic reionization.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science