Professor Kelley's research focuses on using the laser light scattering techniques of resonance Raman and hyper-Raman spectroscopy to study the atomic-level details of how materials interact with light. These studies reveal the detailed mechanisms of fast photochemical reactions such as those involved in human vision, photography, xerography, and solar energy conversion. Her group carries out experiments and also develops theoretical and computational tools for analyzing the data.
She also has an interest in materials with strong nonlinear optical responses, which can be used to convert electrical signals to optical signals in fiber-optic communications and in advanced optical microscopy methods. Her group uses Raman and other spectroscopic methods to understand and predict the nonlinear optical properties of molecules and the manner in which those properties are modified by the intermolecular interactions present in useful materials.
Professor Kelley's group is also working to better understand and exploit the enhancement of scattering intensities observed for molecules adsorbed to the surfaces of metal nanoparticles (surface enhanced Raman and hyper-Raman scattering). These techniques provide amplification of the normally weak signals needed for sensitive analytical and bioanalytical applications.