We have measured the band edge energies of CdxZn1−xO thin films as a function of composition by three independent techniques: we determine the Fermi level stabilization energy by pinning the Fermi level with ion irradiation, measure the binding energy of valence band states and core levels by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, and probe shifts in the conduction band and valence band density of states using soft X-ray absorption and emission spectroscopy, respectively. The three techniques find consensus in explaining the origin of compositional trends in the optical-bandgap narrowing upon Cd incorporation in wurtzite ZnO and widening upon Zn incorporation in rocksalt CdO. The conduction band minimum is found to be stationary for both wurtzite and rocksalt alloys, and a significant upward rise of the valence band maximum accounts for the majority of these observed bandgap changes. Given these band alignments, alloy disorder scattering is found to play a negligible role in decreasing the electron mobility for all alloys. These band alignment details, combined with the unique optical and electrical properties of the two phase regimes, make CdZnO alloys attractive candidates for photoelectrochemical water splitting applications.

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