This article presents the formulation of a new nano-thermite mixture (Al/KMnO4) for application in energetic materials. Reactivities of different thermite mixtures have been compared by a constant volume combustion experiment and the results indicate that the reactivity of the new formulation is two orders of magnitude greater than the traditional formulations. We also present a generic technique for synthesizing core-shell nanostructured composite particles as a means of controlling the reactivity and initiation. By coating a strong oxidizer nanoparticle (KMnO4; ∼150 nm) by a layer of mild oxidizer (Fe2O3; ∼4-15 nm) the measured reactivity in terms of pressurization rate (psi/μs) could be varied by more than a factor of 10. The composite oxidizer particles were synthesized by a two-temperature aerosol process where the non-wetting interaction between the two components of the particle causes phase segregation into a core-shell structure. We also show that the characteristic reaction times and particle length scales can be used to measure characteristic diffusion rates which are indicative of the reactivity of a thermite nanocomposite.