The recent advent of quantum cascade lasers (QCLs) enables room-temperature mid-infrared spectrometer operation which is particularly favourable for industrial process monitoring and control, i.e. the detection of transient and stable molecular species. Conversely, fluorocarbon containing radio-frequency discharges are of special interest for plasma etching and deposition as well as for fundamental studies on gas phase and plasma surface reactions. The application of QCL absorption spectroscopy to such low pressure plasmas is typically hampered by non-linear effects connected with the pulsed mode of the lasers. Nevertheless, adequate calibration can eliminate such effects, especially in the case of complex spectra where single line parameters are not available. In order to facilitate measurements in fluorocarbon plasmas, studies on complex spectra of CF4 and C3F8 at 7.86 µm (1269 – 1275 cm-1) under low pressure conditions have been performed. The intra-pulse mode, i.e. pulses of up to 300 ns, was applied yielding highly resolved spectral scans of ~ 1 cm-1 coverage. Effective absorption cross sections were determined and their temperature dependence was studied in the relevant range up to 400 K and found to be non-negligible.