According to one embodiment, a method for forming a transparent ceramic preform includes forming a suspension of oxide particles in a solvent, adding the suspension to a mold of a desired shape, and uniformly curing the suspension in the mold for forming a preform. The suspension includes a dispersant but does not include a gelling agent. In another embodiment, a method includes creating a mixture without a gelling agent, the mixture including: inorganic particles, a solvent, and a dispersant. The inorganic particles have a mean diameter of less than about 2000 nm. The method also includes agitating the mixture, adding the mixture to a mold, and curing the mixture in the mold at a temperature of less than about 80.degree. C. for forming a preform. Other methods for forming a transparent ceramic preform are also described according to several embodiments.
The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. DE-AC52-07NA27344 between the United States Department of Energy and Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC for the operation of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.