An investigation was conducted using absorption and emission spectroscopy of the afterglow from rf inductive discharges in Xe/I2 mixtures. RF power at 11.5 MHz was supplied to coils surrounding a cylindrical discharge cell. Total pressures were between 0.8 and 5.3 Torr. Measurements were made as a function of radius and time following the termination of the discharge. Results presented here indicate that in the afterglow the XeI* excimer is formed by highly excited I2 and ground state Xe. Evidence is also presented that ion–ion neutralization is a major precursor reaction for the formation of other excited species in the afterglow. © 1998 American Institute of Physics.