The interaction of particulates formed in an argon RF discharge containing 1-5% CCl2F2 admixture with a pulsed infrared laser (Nd:YAG, intensity approx.109 W · m-2, pulse duration approx.10-4 s) has been studied in situ. The white light emitted during this process has been monitored as a function of time and wavelength using a fast photo diode and an optical multichannel analyser. The spectra have been fitted with blackbody curves with a standard deviation of 5%. A spectral temperature of about 3500 K has been obtained for various plasma conditions and attributed to the decomposition temperature of the particulate material. A model based on laser heating, internal heat conduction and chemical decomposition is compared with the experimental results. This model predicts the time constants for heating and decomposition of the particulates and explains the dependence of the measured emission intensity on the laser intensity.