The charge-pumping technique is used for the characterization of the lateral charge distribution in non-volatile memory devices that are based on localized trapping of charge. The lateral charge distribution is calculated directly from charge-pumping measurements using a deconvolution-based procedure. Memory cells employing either a silicon-rich-oxide or Si3N4 trapping medium have been analyzed. Electrons are injected into the trapping medium using channel-hot-electron-injection. The influence of programming pulse width, retention time and device channel length oil the lateral charge distribution has been investigated. (C) 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.