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High purity, 1 MV, 50 ns, 300 A/cm2 lithium beams have been produced using an extraction diode driven by Cornell’s Light Ion Accelerator. Both passive and active anodes were studied with the highest‐purity beams being generated by active anodes. These anodes were approximately 200 cm2 in area and consisted of 0.1 μm films of Al and LiF evaporated onto a glass substrate. The anode plasma was formed by using a plasma opening switch to divert 50 kA from the main power pulse through the Al foil for 20 ns. Without glow‐discharge cleaning, the ion beam produced by the LiF Al anode was over 55% hydrogen and only 20% Li+. In order to remove impurities, especially the hydrogen, the anodes were cleaned with a 110 mA, 33 W, 60 Hz glow discharge. The stoichiometry of the ion beam after discharge cleaning was 65% Li+, 20% Al+2, and 15% H+. The results are presented and a model of the cleaning mechanism is discussed.