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Diffusion of platinum at low temperatures is a convenient way to characterize vacancy profiles in silicon. This article summarizes the experiments performed to find a standard procedure, discusses the pitfalls and limitations, and shows the applicability of the method. The results of experiments with float-zone and Czochralski-grown samples in the temperature range from 680 to 842 °C were found to disagree with the predictions of models published in the literature. Therefore, parameters governing the diffusion of point defects and platinum in silicon were determined for this temperature range. © 1997 American Institute of Physics.