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Data retention loss mechanisms in nitride-based localized trapping memory devices are investigated with various electrical measurements and Medici simulations. First, the effect of program and erase cycles on device behavior is determined in terms of bottom oxide degradation and nitride charge profile evolution. Even if a strong degradation of the interface is observed, there is no important impact of this degradation on the cell behavior. However, the nitride charge profile evolves with cycling and leads to a three-pole electron-hole-electron profile over the channel region. Second, the interface trap annealing, the tunneling through the bottom oxide, and the lateral redistribution are studied in order to determine which mechanism plays the main role in the threshold voltage shift after cycling. The retention performance is dominated by a lateral redistribution of charges in the nitride layer.