A method of preparing a high purity metal nitride and/or oxide powder is provided, comprising: heating a metal salt and an organic fuel to an ignition temperature in a nitrogen-rich atmosphere, forming a first composition; and optionally heating the first composition to a heat treatment temperature, which heat treatment temperature is above the ignition temperature and below 1000.degree. C., in a nitrogen-rich atmosphere until the metal nitride and/or oxide powder is formed.
STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT
 This invention was made with U.S. government support under Cooperative Agreement NCC8-238 awarded by NASA and the Center for Commercial Applications of Combustion in Space. This invention was made with U.S. government support under grant number DE-FC07-051D14648 and DE-AC07-051D14517 awarded by the Department of Energy. The U.S. government has certain rights in the invention.