Carrier lifetimes of Si micro/nanowires grown by the vapor-liquid-solid method are measured using an extension of the classic contactless photoconductivity decay method. The samples measured consist of a thin aggregated film of oxide passivated wires on a fused silica carrier. Au catalyzed wires in the 392-730 nm diameter range are studied. Recombination in these wires is controlled by the surface or near surface effects, not bulk Au impurities. The lifetimes of Au- and Al-catalyzed wires of comparable diameter are measured. The Al wires are found to have slightly longer lifetimes than those grown with Au at a comparable diameter. Across all samples, the lifetimes measured range was from 0.2 to 1.0 ns. The surface controlled nature of the recombination measured implies larger diameter wires will offer better performance in devices that rely on minority carrier transport. © 2011 American Chemical Society.