Over the ~ 5 years of its full operations, the SDSS rapidly broke high redshift quasar and brown dwarf discovery barriers by exploiting the advantages of the near-infrared/optical z filter, combined with a high efficiency and large-area imaging array. During this time, dedicated searches by our group and collaborators revealed many new quasars at z ~ 5 − 6 and new L/T brown dwarfs using the i-dropout technique. Both of these samples probed new parameter spaces and signficantly expanded our understanding of the properties and environments of such rare objects. The UKIRT Infrared Deep Sky Survey (UKIDSS) offers the possibility to continue such interesting discoveries to even higher redshift (quasars) and lower temperatures and masses (brown dwarfs). We discuss the attributes of the survey that makes such rare object discovery possible, and the challenges and techniques required to identify such objects from the sea of candidates in such large datasets.
ASP Conference series: proceedings of 'At the Edge of the Universe: Latest Results from the Deepest Astronomical Surveys', Sintra, Portugal, 09-13 October 2006 / Jose Afonso, Henry C. Ferguson, Bahram Mobasher, and Ray Norris (eds.),
Vol. 380, p. 333