Fourth-generation solar cells: a review

Fatima Rehman, Iqrar Hussain Syed, Saira Khanam, Sumbel Ijaz, Haris Mehmood, Muhammad Zubair*, Yehia Massoud*, Muhammad Qasim Mehmood*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Solar cells have provided a solution to the prevailing energy crisis and environmental contamination in the ongoing energy-driven era because of their potential to utilize solar energy. The initial efforts devoted to this during the past century involved the use of p-n junctions of III-V semiconductors (gallium arsenide, gallium nitride) which resulted in only low-efficiency solar cells. Conventional energy sources, through carbon dioxide emissions, contaminate the environment and exacerbate the greenhouse effect. By contrast, solar technology, as a sustainable form of energy, has assisted in mitigating these challenges, and the quest for attaining efficient and sophisticated designs has led to the discovery of a variety of solar cell structures. However, their large-scale commercialization has been constrained due to many factors, which include the vast installation area required, expensive cost, limited durability and associated losses that lead to a smaller operating efficiency, all of which have opened up various research routes to overcome these shortcomings. The diligent attempts of researchers have converged into generation-by-generation improvements in this domain. In this paper, we have discussed the design and working principles, fabrication, simulation and mathematical modelling of the most advanced state-of-the-art fourth-generation solar cells, which consist mainly of 2D material-based solar cells, quantum dot-based solar cells (QDSCs), perovskite solar cells (PSCs), organic solar cells (OSCs) and dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs). The comprehensive literature review presented in this paper may help the solar cell community to investigate and become acquainted with the design opportunities and variations that exist in the technology under study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1239-1262
Number of pages24
JournalEnergy Advances
Issue number9
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Energy (miscellaneous)


Dive into the research topics of 'Fourth-generation solar cells: a review'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this