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This paper presents a precise absolute measurement of the drift velocity and mobility of electrons in high resistivity silicon at room temperature. The electron velocity is obtained from the differential measurement of the drift time of an electron cloud in a silicon drift detector. The main features of the transport scheme of this class of detectors are: the high uniformity of the electron motion, the transport of the signal electrons entirely contained in the high‐purity bulk, the low noise timing due to the very small anode capacitance (typical value 100 fF), and the possibility to measure different drift distances, up to the wafer diameter, in the same semiconductor sample. These features make the silicon drift detector an optimal device for high precision measurements of carrier drift properties. The electron drift velocity and mobility in a 10 kΩ cm NTD n‐type silicon wafer have been measured as a function of the electric field in the range of possible operation of a typical drift detector (167–633 V/cm). The electron ohmic mobility is found to be 1394 cm2/V s. The measurement precision is better than 1%. © 1995 American Institute of Physics.