High-resolution imaging has revealed an unusually high binary fraction among objects spanning the transition between the L dwarf and T dwarf spectral classes. In an attempt to reproduce and unravel the origins of this apparent binary excess, I present a series of Monte Carlo mass function and multiplicity simulations of field brown dwarfs in the vicinity of the Sun. These simulations are based on solar metallicity brown dwarf evolutionary models and incorporate empirical luminosity and absolute magnitude scales, measured multiplicity statistics, and observed spectral templates in the construction and classification of composite binary spectra. In addition to providing predictions for the number and surface density distributions of L and T dwarfs for volume-limited and magnitude-limited samples, these simulations successfully reproduce the observed binary fraction distribution assuming an intrinsic (resolved) binary fraction of 11+6–3% (95% confidence interval), consistent with prior determinations. However, the true binary fraction may be as high as 40% if, as suggested by Liu et al., a significant fraction of L/T transition objects (∼66%) are tightly bound, unresolved multiples. The simulations presented here demonstrate that the binary excess among L/T transition objects arises primarily from the flattening of the luminosity scale over these spectral types and is not inherently the result of selection effects incurred in current magnitude-limited imaging samples. Indeed, the existence of a binary excess can be seen as further evidence that brown dwarfs traverse the L/T transition rapidly, possibly driven by a nonequilibrium submergence of photospheric condensates.
Stars: Binaries: Visual - Galaxy: Stellar Content - Methods: Numerical - Stars: Low-Mass, Brown Dwarfs - Stars: Luminosity Function, Mass Function