Deposition was done using a pulsed filtered cathodic arc with a graphite cathode. The carbon plasma is fully ionised and condenses on the substrate, forming diamond-like material but with amorphous structure. Optical properties of amorphous carbon films on fused-silica glass were investigated and the curves of optical density have a characteristic band at approximately 950 nm. Changes of the colourimetric quantities were evaluated and compared to uncoated fused silica glass. These changes were investigated as a function of the applied substrate bias voltage using the CIE and CIELAB colour systems. It is suggested that the mechanism of absorption is related to an allowed direct transition at the amorphous carbon films on fused silica glass. The optical energy gap of the amorphous carbon film depends on the bias voltage applied to the substrate holder. The optical colour parameters and optical band gap indicated that there is a relation between the dominant wavelength of the reflectance in the visible range and the wavelength of the optical band gap. (C) 2003 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.