Thin copper (Cu) films of 80 nm thickness deposited on a diffusion barrier layered 8 in. silicon wafers were directly bonded at room temperature using the surface activated bonding method. A low energy Ar ion beam of 40–100 eV was used to activate the Cu surface prior to bonding. Contacting two surface-activated wafers enables successful Cu–Cu direct bonding. The bonding process was carried out under an ultrahigh vacuum condition. No thermal annealing was required to increase the bonding strength since the bonded interface was strong enough at room temperature. The chemical constitution of the Cu surface was examined by Auger electron spectroscope. It was observed that carbon-based contaminations and native oxides on copper surface were effectively removed by Ar ion beam irradiation for 60 s without any wet cleaning processes. An atomic force microscope study shows that the Ar ion beam process causes no surface roughness degradation. Tensile test results show that high bonding strength equivalent to bulk material is achieved at room temperature. The cross-sectional transmission electron microscope observations reveal the presence of void-free bonding interface without intermediate layer at the bonded Cu surfaces.