To explore the possibility of bandgap engineering in Ti-oxide based insulators, we investigated the effect of added cations of another kind (Hf, Ta, Sr) on the optical absorption and photoconductivity of thin titanate films. A bandgap of 3.1-3.4 eV, typical for pure polycrystalline TiO2, was found in crystallized SrxTiyOz of different composition as well as in amorphous Ta2Ti3Oz. By contrast, the gap width of Hf titanates increases starting from 3.5 eV for 30% Hf/(Hf + Ti) to 4.2 eV for 84% Hf/(Hf + Ti). We suggest that this gap widening is associated with reduced interaction between electron states of neighboring Ti cations as influenced by a wide-gap (E-g = 5.6 eV) HfO2 sub-network. (C) 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.