October 2014 • 2014ApJ...794..143B
Abstract • Multiplicity is a key statistic for understanding the formation of very low mass (VLM) stars and brown dwarfs. Currently, the separation distribution of VLM binaries remains poorly constrained at small separations (<=1 AU), leading to uncertainty in the overall binary fraction. We approach this problem by searching for late-M/early-L plus T dwarf spectral binaries whose combined light spectra exhibit distinct peculiarities, allowing for separation-independent identification. We define a set of spectral indices designed to identify these systems, and we use a spectral template fitting method to confirm and characterize spectral binary candidates from a library of 815 spectra from the SpeX Prism Spectral Libraries. We present 11 new binary candidates, confirm 3 previously reported candidates, and rule out 2 previously identified candidates, all with primary and secondary spectral types in the range M7-L7 and T1-T8, respectively. We find that subdwarfs and blue L dwarfs are the primary contaminants in our sample and propose a method for segregating these sources. If confirmed by follow-up observations, these systems may add to the growing list of tight separation binaries, whose orbital properties may yield further insight into brown dwarf formation scenarios.