SiO2 layer structures with a middle layer containing Ge nanocrystals were prepared by sputtering on n- and p-type Si substrates, and by consecutive annealing. Ge content in the middle layer was varied in the range of 40-100%. Most of the structures exhibited low breakdown voltages. The current through the structures became Schottky-like after breakdown. However, some p-type samples showed a considerable memory effect. It was obtained by spectroscopic ellipsometry that the middle layer contains amorphous Ge phase as well. The results also suggest intermixing of the layers during the sputtering and/or the annealing process. (C) 2007 Published by Elsevier B.V.