This paper deals with the determination of plasma impedance and ion density in r.f. plasmas using different mixtures of silane with methane or ethylene and r.f. powers. The aim is to correlate these parameters with carbon and hydrogen contents of the films produced. The data achieved show that the best carbon incorporation is achieved using ethylene gas mixtures, under low gas mixture concentration, where the substrate also sustains a low ion bombardment. The data also show that particulates in the plasma can be more easily formed in the ethylene-based processes.