A one-dimensional particle-in-cell/Monte Carlo model is developed to study capacitively coupled (cc) radio-frequency discharges in a gas mixture of Ar, CF4, and N2. The charged species, which are followed in the model, are: Electrons and Ar+, CF3+, N2+, F−, and CF3− ions. The simulation considers electron – neutral (Ar, CF4, and N2) collisions, various kinds of collisions of ions with neutrals, positive–negative ion recombination, and electron–ion recombination. The model yields results for electron and ion densities, fluxes and energy distributions, collision rates and electric field, and potential distributions. The simulations are performed for a 0.8/0.1/0.1 ratio of Ar/CF4/N2 mixture at a pressure of 30 mTorr in single (13.56 MHz) and dual frequency (2+27 MHz) cc reactors and a comparison between the two frequency regimes is made. Results show that the structure of the discharges is electronegative in both cases. F− and CF3− ions are the main negative charge carriers in the single and dual frequency regime, respectively. In the presence of low-frequency (2 MHz) and a strong electric field, the light F− ions are no longer confined in the bulk plasma and they partially respond to the instantaneous electric field. The calculated electron energy probability function profiles can be approximated to a Druyvesteyn and bi-Maxwellian distribution with high-energy tails in the single- and dual-frequency regime, respectively. The ion energy distribution is narrow with one outstanding peak in the single-frequency scheme, whereas it is wide and bimodal in the dual-frequency scheme. © 2003 American Institute of Physics.