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Plasma is a 4th state of matter.

A plasma lamp, showing some of the more complex things a plasma can do. The colors come from the gas in the lamp. Each type of gas makes a different color
Gas-filled tubes often contain plasma. This one shows neon. The color of the tube gives a hint to the gas inside

Plasma is created by adding energy to a gas so that some of its electrons leave its atoms. This is called ionization. It results in negatively charged electrons, and positively charged ions. Unlike the other states of matter, the charged particles in a plasma will react strongly to electric and magnetic fields (i.e. electromagnetic fields). If a plasma loses heat, the ions will re-form into a gas, emitting the energy which had caused them to ionize. view more...