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Laser ion sources (LIS) are capable of delivering short pulses of highly charged ions of almost any element, with high intensity. In this paper, the basic processes of the laser interaction with plasma generated from a solid target will be discussed. The application of the laser-plasma theory will be applied to the subsystems of the LIS, and some examples of ion beam properties given, with a more detailed description of the implementation of a LIS at ITEP, Moscow. Finally the parameters for a LIS for high-current, low charge-state, long pulse operation will be discussed, along with transverse magnetic confinement, and the possibilities for injecting a laser plasma into an electron cyclotron resonance ion source.