We studied the effect of ion damage on the properties of 50 keV Ga+ focused ion beam fabricated lead-zirconate-titanate capacitors as a function of the ion dose. We observed significant modification in the chemical composition of the damaged layer due to loss of lead and oxygen, and gallium impurity accumulation. The 5–10 nm thick damaged layer becomes dielectric after annealing and does not recover its ferroelectric properties. This dielectric layer substantially reduces the actual volume of the ferroelectric material in sub-100 nm structures, and can affect their performance. © 2002 American Institute of Physics.