A technique for measuring ion transport using laser-induced fluorescence has been developed and tested in an argon plasma. It uses only one broadband beam thus being simpler than some previous techniques because no detection beam is required. First, a 5 μs laser pulse centered on 611 nm stimulates a transition from the metastable state in Ar(II) 3d 2G9/2 to 4p 2F07/2. A 4p 2F07/2 to 4s2D5/2transition rapidly results with emission at 461 nm. Upon cessation of the laser pulse, the 461 nm light in the detection volume does not return to its background level immediately because the 3d 2G9/2 level is partially depleted. The time history of the 461 nm signal in returning to steady-state background intensity provides a means of determining ion transport because the recovery signal is due to processes including ion excitation, diffusion, convection, and thermal motion. Measurements of the ion velocity distribution yield the contributions of thermal and convective effects to ion transport. By varying the laser beam diameter and the detection volume the plasma ion spatial diffusion coefficient D, and the time, τp it takes for processes other than transport to bring the 461 nm emission back to the steady-state background level are determined. For example, in one set of plasma conditions D=0.58±0.16 m2/s and τp=59±7 μs were found. © 1996 American Institute of Physics.