An ion source which generates hydrogen ions having high atomic purity incorporates a solenoidal permanent magnets to increase the electron path length. In a sealed envelope, electrons emitted from a cathode traverse the magnetic field lines of a solenoid and a monocusp magnet between the cathode and a reflector at the monocusp. As electrons collide with gas, the molecular gas forms a plasma. An anode grazes the outer boundary of the plasma. Molecular ions and high energy electrons remain substantially on the cathode side of the cusp, but as the ions and electrons are scattered to the aperture side of the cusp, additional collisions create atomic ions. The increased electron path length allows for smaller diameters and lower operating pressures.