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The field of plasma, often referred to as "natures fourth state of matter" can range from the simple plasma display globe to the to the complex and high power study of thermo nuclear fusion. A plasma is a gas where the individual atoms have been charged by stripping them of electrons. This charging action can be by using electric, magnetic or thermal means. The otherwise neutral atoms now lose electrons allowing an electrical current to flow. The charged atoms now take on properties that they normally do not have. They are easily influenced by electric and magnetic fields where beams can be shaped and directed to impact atomic nuclei transmuting into other elements.

A discharge through a gas is a form of plasma, example being a simple house hold fluorescent lamp or neon tube. An electric arc such as that from a welder is a form of plasma. A beam of helium nuclei electrically accelerated and then stripped of their positive charges can become a powerful and destructive beam of neutrons. Tritium gas compressed by a high energy pulse and simultaneously illuminated by a megamp electric current may be the candidate for a fusion fire. A nuclear detonation is a form of plasma.