In this paper we present the first characterisation of growth of a carbonaceous film on a silicon substrate exposed to a metastable atom beam using an in situ rotating polariser ellipsometer. The initial deposition of oil due to a background partial pressure in vacuum is investigated. Subsequent exposure of the deposited oil to a high flux metastable neon (Ne*) beam results in cross-linking of the oil film, creating a polymerised carbonaceous layer. Values for the mean residence time, polymerisation cross-section, and desorption cross-section are calculated and compared to similar studies performed for ion bombardment. Simple estimates can provide reasonable values for application of the theory to other systems.