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We have developed a program-disturb model to characterize the channel potential of the program-inhibited string during NAND flash cell programming. This model includes cell-to-cell capacitances from 3-D technology computer-aided design simulation and leakage currents associated with the boosted channel. We studied the program-disturb characteristics of sub-30-nm NAND cells using a delayed programming pulse method. The simulation results agree with the experimental data very well and show quantitative impacts of junction leakage current, band-to-band tunneling (BTBT) current, Fowler-Nordheim tunneling current, and channel capacitance on the program disturb. We further discuss the cell-scaling trend and identify that the BTBT current can be a dominant mechanism for the program disturb of sub-20-nm NAND cells.