Abstract We prepared Cu nanoparticles in a-C:H thin films by co-deposition of RF-sputtering and RF-PECVD methods at room temperature. By increasing Cu content in these films a nonmetal–metal (N–M) transition is observed. This transition is explainable by the power law of percolation theory. The critical metal content is obtained 56% and the critical exponent is obtained 1.6, which is larger than the exponent for 2 dimension systems and smaller than the one for 3 dimension systems. The electrical conductivity of dielectric samples was explained by tunneling. Activation tunneling energy that was obtained from temperature dependence of electrical resistivity correlates with near infrared absorption peak of samples and both of them depend on Cu content of thin films. In the early stage of N–M transition, by increasing metal content, a peculiar effect of metallic to nonmetallic state occurs.