Zirconia particles

Porous zirconia or zirconium-containing particles, methods of making such particles and methods of using such particles including modifications to the surface of the particles are described. The method comprises heating zirconia particles to provide a substantially homogeneously liquid melt, quenching the particles of melt to effect spinodal decomposition to provide quench particles of a silica rich phase and a zirconia rich phase, annealing the quenched particles to provide non porous solid particles of zirconia and silica and, leaching the silica from these particles to produce porous solid zirconia particles comprising a three dimensionally substantially continuous inter penetrating network of inter-connected pores.