We determine the 22 μm luminosity evolution and luminosity function for quasars from a data set of over 20,000 objects obtained by combining flux-limited Sloan Digital Sky Survey optical and Wide field Infrared Survey Explorer mid-infrared data. We apply methods developed in previous works to access the intrinsic population distributions non-parametrically, taking into account the truncations and correlations inherent in the data. We find that the population of quasars exhibits positive luminosity evolution with redshift in the mid-infrared, but with considerably less mid-infrared evolution than in the optical or radio bands. With the luminosity evolutions accounted for, we determine the density evolution and local mid-infrared luminosity function. The latter displays a sharp flattening at local luminosities below ~1031 erg s−1 Hz−1, which has been reported previously at 15 μm for AGN classified as both type 1 and type 2. We calculate the integrated total emission from quasars at 22 μm and find it to be a small fraction of both the cosmic infrared background light and the integrated emission from all sources at this wavelength.

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Copyright © 2016 The American Astronomical Society. This article first appeared in The Astrophysical Journal 831 (November 1, 2016): 60.

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