In physics, a charged particle is a particle with an electric charge. It may be an ion, such as a molecule or atom with a surplus or deficit of electrons relative to protons. It can be the electrons and protons themselves, as well as other elementary particles, like positrons. It may also be an atomic nucleus devoid of electrons, such as an alpha particle, a helium nucleus. Neutrons have no charge, so they are not charged particles unless they are part of a positively charged nucleus. Plasmas are a collection of charged particles, atomic nuclei and separated electrons, but can also be a gas containing a significant proportion of charged particles. Plasma is called the fourth state of matter because its properties are quite different from solids, liquids and gases.