Bending tests of Diamond-Like Carbon (DLC) nanopillars fabricated by Focused Ion-Beam assisted Chemical Vapor Deposition (FIB-CVD) were carried out in a scanning electron microscope (SEM) to investigate their mechanical behavior. Special attention was paid on the effect of the specimen size. The nanopillars with nano-sized diameter and micro-sized length were grown using spot irradiation without scanning FIB. The diameter of the nanopillars was changed in the range of 100 ~ 1000 nm by changing the magnitude of defocusing FIB.
In the bending tests, brittle fracture was observed for the nanopillars with diameter of 1000 nm. On the contrary, large deformation without brittle fracture was confirmed in the specimens with diameter of 300 nm. In addition, the pillar recovered its original shape after unloading without any permanent deformation even after the large deformation.
Transmission electron microscope (TEM) analysis revealed that the pillars had uniform amorphous structures regardless of the diameters if the FIB was defocused during processing. In addition, similar gallium (Ga) content and sp2/sp3 fraction were observed in both specimens. These results indicate that difference in microstructures cannot be the reason for that in mechanical behavior. In other words, it must be caused by the intrinsic size effect on the mechanical properties of DLC fabricated by FIB-CVD process.