The fast ignitor concept for inertial confinement fusion relies on the generation of hot electrons, produced by a short-pulse ultrahigh intensity laser, which propagate through high-density plasma to deposit their energy in the compressed fuel core and heat it to ignition. In preliminary experiments designed to investigate deep heating of high-density matter, we used a 20 joule, 0.5–30 ps laser to heat solid targets, and used emission spectroscopy to measure plasma temperatures and densities achieved at large depths (2–20 microns) away from the initial target surface. The targets consisted of an Al tracer layer buried within a massive CH slab; H-like and He-like line emission was then used to diagnose plasma conditions. We observe spectra from tracer layers buried up to 20 microns deep, measure emission durations of up to 200 ps, measure plasma temperatures up to Te=650 eV, and measure electron densities above 1023 cm−3. Analysis is in progress, but the data are in reasonable agreement with heating simulations when space-charge induced inhibition is included in hot-electron transport, and this supports the conclusion that the deep heating is initiated by hot electrons.