For the most part, the details of interacting with plasma are explained by DB Harumi. In summary, plasma are like small treasure chests, with a minigame as the lock. In a certain amount of time, an orange bar will move back and forth across a straight path, and you have to stop it in the "success area." Missing the area when you click will result in the plasma disappearing. Timing out allows you another chance.
The allotted time and the size of the success area will vary, depending on the type of plasma.
It is not always necessary to click on the first swipe, unless there simply isn't enough time. The orange bar will move back and forth along the path until either you stop it, or time runs out.