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Journal Article

Advanced nanomechanics in the TEM: Effects of thermal annealing on FIB prepared Cu samples

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Kiener, D., Zhang, Z., Šturm, S., Cazottes, S., Imrich, P. J., Kirchlechner, C., et al. (2012). Advanced nanomechanics in the TEM: Effects of thermal annealing on FIB prepared Cu samples. Philosophical Magazine, 92(25-27): 185, pp. 3269-3289. doi:10.1080/14786435.2012.685966.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-001A-1D01-5
The effect of focused ion beam (FIB) fabrication on the mechanical properties of miniaturized mechanical tests has recently been realized, but is not well documented. In this study, the effect of post thermal annealing on the plastic properties of FIB fabricated micro- and nanometer-sized Cu samples was studied by means of advanced analytic and in situ transmission electron microscopy. In situ heating experiments on thin films and pillars revealed a reduction of the initially high dislocation density, but never a recovery of the bulk dislocation density. Aberration-corrected atomic imaging documented the recovery of a pristine crystalline surface structure upon annealing, while electron energy-loss spectroscopy showed that the remaining contamination layer consisted of amorphous carbon. These structural observations were combined with the mechanical data from in situ tests of annealed micro- and nanometer-sized tensile and compression samples. The thermal annealing in the micron regime mainly influences the initial yield point, as it reduces the number of suited dislocation sources, while the flow behavior is mostly unaffected. For the submicron samples, the annealed material sustains significantly higher stresses throughout the deformation. This is explained by the high stresses required for surfacemediated dislocation nucleation of the annealed material at the nanoscale. In the present case, the FIB affected the surface near defects and facilitated dislocation nucleation, thereby lowering the material strength.