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Charge storage characteristics of a hafnium oxynitride (HfON) charge-trapping layer prepared by atomic layer deposition in a metal-Al2O3-HfON-SiO2-Si (MAHNOS) structure are investigated. We found that an ultrathin HfON (~2.5 nm) embedded in MAHNOS has large memory window (~7.5 V at Vg = ±15 V), sufficient erase speed (Δ VFB = 4 V at -16 V/1 ms), and satisfactory data retention. From the relation of erase transient current density (J) versus tunnel oxide e-field (ETUN), we also found that the erase mechanism of MAHNOS depends on electron detrapping from HfON to Si substrates. However, MAHNOS embedding with a thicker HfON shows a poor data retention due to the increase of crystallization of the trapping layer.