Abstract Thin films of carbon were deposited onto tungsten substrates using laser-induced physical vapour deposition (LPVD) from a high purity pyrolitic graphite target. An excimer laser was used for the deposition of these films. The films were irradiated with Ar + ions up to an ion dose of 1 × 10 16 ions cm -2 to promote ion beam induced atomic mixing at the W-C interface. Since the state of the mixed region is expected to be metastable, the possibility of transformation of this state to a more ordered state via thermal annealing treatment was explored. These treatments clearly revealed the formation of tungsten carbide at the interface. X-ray diffraction (XRD) studies were performed at every stage of processing using a low angle XRD technique. Scanning electron microscopy was used for qualitative characterization of the surface morphology of samples. The microhardness was measured using a conventional Vicker's microhardness testing machine.