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A method for determining minority carrier generation lifetimes and hold times in metal‐oxide‐semiconductor devices is presented. The technique overcomes some of the uncertainties inherent in the commonly used Zerbst lifetime measurement and can be used on very small devices. In the method a deep level transient spectroscopy system is used to separate generation currents of different activation energies, and to provide values for these energies, so indicating the source of the generation at a particular temperature. In the range where generation in the depletion region is dominant, the minority‐carrier generation lifetime can be derived. In all cases the data can be directly related to the ‘‘hold’’ time of a metal‐oxide‐semiconductor capacitor.