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The results of experiments on moderate energy (4–25 keV) metal ion beam focusing by a high current plasma lens (PL) are presented. The ion beam was produced by a two-chamber vacuum–arc metal vapor vacuum arc (MEVVA)-type ion source. Characteristics of the beam passing through the lens have been measured and the PL focusing properties determined for a wide range of ion beam energy and current. Distributions have been determined of the external potential along the lens electrodes that provide maximum increase of the beam current density on axis. Certain features of metal ion beam focusing by the PL are discussed. Some of these characteristics depend on the method of application of the external electric potential to the lens electrodes. © 1998 American Institute of Physics.