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What if you could control the behavior of ceramic nanoparticles and nanostructures? This is what Professor Castro’s research group is looking for. Using specially designed thermochemical experiments, nanostructure characterization by TEM, SEM, BET, and others, we are currently designing a relationship between the interface energetics and nanosintering, nanostability, and phase transition, enabling a thermodynamic control of these phenomena. Recent achievement includes the experimental demonstration of a quasi-zero-grain boundary energy that can enable a highly stable nanocrystalline material to survive high temperatures. This work is supported by the NSF CAREER award, DMR Ceramics 1055504.
Nanostructured materials are likely to play a large role in future nuclear reactors and radioactive waste storage due to their strength and potential resistance to structural damage from radiation. The goal of this project is to investigate the dependence of the strength of nanoceramics to radiation induced amorphization on the interfacial energies. Doped Zirconia and Aluminate Spinels are the model materials in this project that is supported by the Early Career Research Program award and is a collaboration with the Los Alamos National Laboratory.
In an independent but complementary front supported by the UC LabFee, cerium oxide is used as a model system to evaluate the possility of designing ceramics with much high radiation resistance. Recent results from this work have been highlighted by The American Ceramic Society website.
The knowledge on interface science enables an effective engineering of local chemistry that allows design of nanocrystalline materials with unprecedented properties. Castro's group focus on finding the relationship between thermodynamics and mechanical behavior of nanoceramics to optimize those from the energetics perspective. Among the projects, the developement of transparent ceramics with grains in the nanorange is funded by CNPq, the Brazilian natinal funding agency, with the goals of manufacturing transparent structures that can withstand extreme environments, such as high pressures for application in deep-ocean submarines.

Affiliations & Societies

Peter A. Rock Thermochemistry Laboratory Our group is a part of this unique laboratory, check the website!


Chemical Engineering and Materials Science Department.
Visit the new website for more information.

The American Ceramic Society.
Castro is an active member of this Society and NICE Secretary. Visit the new website for more information.

Prof. Castro honored as 2013-2014 Chancellor’s Fellow.
An honor for a selected group of faculty at UC Davis being honored early in their careers for having already compiled outstanding records of achievement.

Other Interesting Links

Materials & You and the Materials Magic Show.
Two NSF supported program developed with the Yolo County Office of Education and UC Davis Click to learn more.
I'm a scientist with faith. Learn more about Castro's faith and how science can co-exist with God.

Sintering book published in 2013.
Book collects up-to-date info on nano-effects on sintering and electrical field assisted issues.