Multicusp ion sources are capable of producing ions with low axial energy spread which are necessary in applications such as ion projection lithography (IPL) and radioactive ion beam production. The addition of a radially extending magnetic filter consisting of a pair of permanent magnets to the multicusp source reduces the energy spread considerably due to the improvement in the uniformity of the axial plasma potential distribution in the discharge region. A coaxial multicusp ion source designed to further reduce the energy spread utilizes a cylindrical magnetic filter to achieve a more uniform axial plasma potential distribution. The coaxial magnetic filter divides the source chamber into an outer annular discharge region in which the plasma is produced and a coaxial inner ion extraction region into which the ions radially diffuse but from which ionizing electrons are excluded. The energy spread in the coaxial source has been measured to be 0.6 eV. Unlike other ion sources, the coaxial source has the capability of adjusting the radial plasma potential distribution and therefore the transverse ion temperature (or beam emittance).