The Zn(4s(2)) . Ne[(1)Sigma(+)] and the Zn(4s4p pi) . Ne[(1)Pi(1)] states have been characterized by laser-induced fluorescence spectroscopy. Bond lengths were determined from simulations of the partially-resolved rotational structure of the (1)Pi <-- (1)Sigma(+) transitions, while bond strengths were estimated from a Birge-Sponer extrapolation with allowance for consistent errors resulting from similar procedures in the analogous Cd . Ne and Hg . Ne transitions. The van der Waals bonding in these states is discussed briefly and compared to that in the analogous M . RG states, where M = Mg,Zn, Cd, Hg and RG = Ne, Ar, Kr, Xe. (C) 1999 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.