Dr. Kelly has been active in the fields of analytical electron microscopy, atom probe microscopy, and structural and superconducting materials since he earned his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering with Highest Honors from Northeastern University in 1977. He gained a Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1982, where he studied rapidly solidified stainless steel using analytical electron microscopy.

He was a tenured professor of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison from 1983 to 2002. In 1999 he founded Imago Scientific Instruments, where he created the Local Electrode Atom Probe (LEAP) that has become the commercial atomic-scale tomographic instrument in worldwide use today. Imago was acquired by CAMECA Instruments in 2010. In 2018, he founded Steam Instruments to further advance cutting-edge technologies in mass spectroscopy, including development of quantum ion and imaging detectors.

Dr. Kelly’s work and contributions to microanalysis have been widely recognized by professional colleagues including the Innovation in Materials Characterization Award from the Materials Research Society, the prestigious Nelson W. Taylor Lecture at the Pennsylvania State University, and three R&D 100 Awards. He was awarded the Duncumb Award from the MAS in 2017 and is a Fellow of the MAS, the  Microscopy Society of America, the International Field Emission Society, and the Korean Society for Microscopy. He was elected a member of the US National Academy of Engineering in 2021. He is the author of a highly regarded book on LEAP technology published in 2013 and just completed a foundational book on atomic-scale analytical tomography.