Prof. Robertson does experimental research in basic plasma physics coupled with computational modeling, most of which is related to dust in plasmas. He is presently involved in two research areas. (1) The polar ionosphere contains meteoric dust particles that are the nucleation sites for icy cloud particles. Students construct instruments for rockets that return data from 80-120 km altitude on the charge-to-mass ratio and number density of these particles so that their characteristics can be entered into models of the ionosphere. (2) Scott is an investigator in the Solar System Exploration Virtual Institute (SSERVI) at the University of Colorado, called the Institute for Modeling, Plasma, Atmospheres and Cosmic Dust (IMPACT). The institute construct laboratory models of dusty surfaces in space and expose the surfaces to ultraviolet light, plasma, and simulated solar wind to reproduce the plasma environment at the surfaces of the Moon and other airless bodies. The goal is to characterize these surfaces to facilitate NASA exploration missions and to design instruments that will return data on the plasma and charged dust at the surface.
"Charge balance in the mesosphere with meteoric dust particles. H. Asmus, S. Robertson, S. Dickson, M. Friedrich, and L. Megner, Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics, August 2014, doi:10.1016/j.jastp.2014.07.010
"Detection of Meteoric Smoke Particles in the Mesosphere by a Rocket-borne Mass Spectrometer. S. Robertson, S. Dickson, M. Horanyi, Z. Sternovsky, M. Friedrich, D. Janches, L. Megner, and B. Williams, Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics, online 30 July 2013 and in press, special issue on Smoke and Ice in the Mesosphere.
"Electron loss and meteoric dust in the mesosphere. M. Friedrich, M. Rapp, T. Blix, U.-P. Hoppe, K. Torkar, S. Robertson, S. Dickson, and K. Lynch, Ann. Geophys. 30, 1495–1501 (2012).
"Sheaths in Laboratory and Space Plasmas. (Topical Review) Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion 55 (2013) 093001.
"The electron sheath around an emissive wire in vacuum. S. Robertson, IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science 40(10), 2678-2685, doi 10.1109/TPS.2012.2210915, October 2012.
"Electric potentials in magnetic dipole fields normal and oblique to a surface in plasma: Understanding the solar wind interaction with lunar magnetic anomalies," X. Wang, C. T. Howes, M. Horanyi, and S. Robertson, Geophysical Research Letters 40 (1-5), doi:10.1002/grl.50367 (March 2013).
"Electron loss and meteoric dust in the mesosphere. M. Friedrich, M. Rapp, T. Blix, U.-P. Hoppe, K. Torkar, S. Robertson, S. Dickson, and K. Lynch, Ann. Geophys. 30, 1495 – 1501 (2012).
"Experimental study of a photoelectron sheath," A. Dove, M. Horanyi, X. Wang, M. Piquette, A. R. Poppe, and S. Robertson, Phys. Plasmas 19, 043502 (April 2012).
"Origin of higher temperatures in multidipolar plasma devices," Scott Knappmiller and Scott Robertson, Physics of Plasmas 18, 100702, 2011 (doi: 10.1063/1.3651205).
"Continuous gas discharge plasma with 200 K electron temperature," S. Dickson and S. Robertson, Physics of Plasmas 17, 033508, (5 pages) 2010.