Understanding charging mechanisms and charge retention dynamics of nanocrystal (NC) memory devices is important in optimization of device design. Capacitance spectroscopy on PECVD grown germanium NCs embedded in a silicon oxide matrix was performed. Dynamic measurements of discharge dynamics are carried out. Charge decay is modelled by assuming storage of carriers in the ground states of NCs and that the decay is dominated by direct tunnelling. Discharge rates are calculated using the theoretical model for different NC sizes and densities and are compared with experimental data. Experimental results agree well with the proposed model and suggest that charge is indeed stored in the quantized energy levels of the NCs. (C) 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.