Chemical Approaches to Nanoscience

Organic synthesis enables the precise generation of functional molecular building blocks and constitutes the basis of chemical approaches that our group is developing to address current challenges in materials science.
Check out our group's research: highlight or poster or short interview.
Read the Angewandte Chemie author profile about SH either in English or German.

Note that we are relocating to the Leibniz Institute for Interactive Materials and RWTH Aachen University.
Stay tuned and visit us at:


In this podcast, Christoph Jurissek introduces his PhD project (in German), which aims at implementing photoswitches into polymeric materials in order to switch between dynamic and non-dynamic covalent bonds by light irradiation, giving rise to novel recycling techniques.
In this video clip, Michael Kathan describes his award-winning work on light-driven covalent bond formation and scission using photoswitches that selectively reverse their reactivity upon illumination with visible light.
In this video clip, Stefan Hecht uses a historical setting to motivate his research on photoswitchable molecules that act as optically addressable gates in future transistor and other devices.
In this video clip, Stefan Hecht describes the creative process of developing a chemical concept, translating it into a molecular target structure, and realizing its synthesis.
In this video clip, Stefan Hecht motivates his group’s research in smart light-responsive materials and explains in simple terms the underlaying principle of photoswitchable molecules.
In this lecture, Stefan Hecht motivates research in the field of photoresponsive molecular systems, illustrates some achievements of his own research group, and finally highlights general scientific challenges in the field, before transitioning to the other speakers in the session.
In diesem Interview motiviert Stefan Hecht seine Forschung in den Nanowissenschaften und erklärt die zugrundeliegende Philosophie und interdisziplinären Charakter.

What We Do


Our main efforts are directed towards:
  • Remote-controlling function: Developing photoresponsive (switchable and triggerable) reactive and catalytically active systems as well as charge and energy transporting systems for spatio-temporally resolved chemistry and signal amplification.
  • Light-powered processes: Designing various light-driven macro- and supramolecular systems that exploit cooperative phenomena to directly convert (sun) light into materials response with regard to mechanical and (self)healing properties, among others.
  • Surface-confined chemistry: Controlling conformation, self-assembly, and chemical reactivity (switching and covalent bond formation) of individual molecules and their assemblies on solid substrates for nanoconstruction, molecular-scale electronics, and sensing.
A poster summarizing our research activities is provided here. For more information see our research highlight section and read our publications.


Fishing with light
New devices by Janus 2D materials
3D-printing tough interfaces
Controlling chirality in MOFs
Orthogonal switching devices
SH elected member of acatech
All the best for 2021!
Xolography to change 3D printing
SH appointed Fellow of MPS MtL
Leibniz SAW Project granted
Molecular telegraphy
Light-powered logical actuators
Self-assembly in real time
Albert Weller-Prize for Michael "K2"
SH elected into Academia Europaea
Towards artificial synapses
Cooperative switching realized
Azulene adds new twist to DAEs
Friedrich Hirzebruch Prize for "K2"
Pushing the limit
show all news


  • molecular design & organic synthesis
  • macromolecular & supramolecular chemistry and photochemistry & (spectro)electrochemistry
  • molecular switches & devices and remote-controlled chemistry & surface confinement
  • nanoscience & material science