Abstract Ultra-thin (0 0 1) silicon films (thickness less than 25 nm) directly bonded onto (0 0 1) silicon wafers have been investigated by transmission electron microscopy. Twist interfacial dislocations accommodate the twist between the two crystals, whereas tilt interfacial dislocations accommodate the tilt resulting from the residual vicinality of the initial surfaces. In low-twist angle grain boundaries, twist interfacial dislocations are dissociated and no precipitates are detected. In high-twist angle grain boundaries, there is no dissociation and a high density of silicon oxide precipitates is observed at the interface. Tilt interfacial dislocations are pinned by these precipitates, they are more mobile than precipitates. Without precipitates, their lines are straighter than those with precipitates, and this is especially when the bonded wafers are annealed at a high temperature. When no precipitates are present, tilt interfacial dislocations are associated by pairs, and we demonstrate that each tilt interfacial dislocations introduce a diatomic interfacial step at the interface.