Stefan Hecht grew up in Berlin and studied chemistry at Humboldt-Universität from 1992-1997 during which time he performed his Diploma work at the University of California, Berkeley, on photochemical rearrangements. There he carried out his doctoral research with Jean M. J. Fréchet in the area of dendritic macromolecules. He started his independent research group at Free University of Berlin and subsequently the Max Planck Institute for Coal Research in Mülheim/Ruhr before accepting a call to Humboldt University of Berlin, where he was full professor from 2006 until 2019. From the summer of 2019 until the end of 2022 he was Scientific Director of the DWI – Leibniz Institute for Interactive Materials and held the Chair of Macromolecular Chemistry at RWTH Aachen University before returning to his alma mater as Einstein Professor and Founding Director of the Center for the Science of Materials Berlin.
His research interests range from synthetic macro/supramolecular chemistry to surface science with particular focus on developing photoswitchable molecules to remote-control materials, devices, and manufacturing as well as physical, chemical, and biological processes. He cofounded xolo GmbH to commercialize xolography as volumetric 3D printing technology.