Ultra fine and nanometer powders and a method of producing same are provided, preferably refractory metal and ceramic nanopowders. When certain precursors are injected into the plasma flame in a reactor chamber, the materials are heated, melted and vaporized and the chemical reaction is induced in the vapor phase. The vapor phase is quenched rapidly to solid phase to yield the ultra pure, ultra fine and nano product. With this technique, powders have been made 20 nanometers in size in a system capable of a bulk production rate of more than 10 lbs/hr. The process is particularly applicable to tungsten, molybdenum, rhenium, tungsten carbide, molybdenum carbide and other related materials.
The U.S. Government has a paid-up license in this invention and the right in limited circumstances to require the patent owner to license others on reasonable terms as provided for by the terms of Contract Nos. DE-FG02-02ER83435, NNM05AA63C, and NNM04AA12C, awarded by the Department of Energy and National Aeronautics and Space Administration ("NASA").