A single-mode cavity microwave furnace, operating in the TE103 mode at 2.45 GHz is being used to investigate sintering of pure and doped nanocrystalline alumina. The purpose of these experiments is to determine the effect of additives on the sintering process in the nanocrystalline regime. Using the sol-gel method, high purity Al2O3 nanocrystalline powders were synthesized. These powders were calcined at 700°C and then CIP'ed to 414 MPa, producing 0.4 in. diameter, 0.25 in. high cylindrical compacts. The compacts were heated in the microwave furnace to temperatures between 1100°C to approximately 1800°C and were then brought back to room temperature using a triangular heating profile of about 30 minutes duration. A two-color IR pyrometer was used to monitor the surface temperature of the workpiece. The additives tested in this work lowered the temperature needed for densification but this effect was offset by increased grain growth. Initial grain growth from < 5 nm to ∼ 50 nm was closely correlated with the γ to α-alumina phase transition.