Colloidal plasmas contain three different components - electrons, ions and charged microspheres. Although these unusual plasmas can be studied in the laboratory, researchers have only been able to study two-dimensional effects because gravity can overwhelm the electrostatic interactions between the particles. These interactions are responsible for the unusual properties of colloidal plasmas.

By reducing the effects of gravity for up to six minutes at a time, Morfill and colleagues have been able to observe three-dimensional structures in the plasma, including voids that did not contain any microspheres. The structures they observed included "crystalline plasmas" and "liquid plasmas". Properties exhibited by the latter included ordered flows and vortices.