There is a renewed interest in the development of chemical and biological agent sensors due to the increased threat of weapons deployment by terrorist organizations and rogue states. Optically based sensors address the needs of military and homeland security forces in that they are reliable, rapidly deployed, and can provide continuous monitoring with little to no operator involvement. Nomadics has developed optically based chemical weapons sensors that utilize reactive fluorescent chromophores initially developed by Professor Tim Swager at MIT. The chromophores provide unprecedented sensitivity and selectivity toward toxic industrial chemicals and certain chemical weapon agents. The selectivity is based upon the reactivity of the G-class nerve agents (phosphorylation of acetylcholinesterase enzyme) that makes them toxic. Because the sensor recognizes the reactivity of strong electrophiles and not molecular weight, chemical affinity or ionizability, our system detects a specific class of reactive agents and will be able to detect newly developed or modified agents that are not currently known. We have recently extended this work to pursue a combined chemical/biological agent sensor system incorporating technologies based upon novel deep ultraviolet (UV) light emitting diodes (LEDs) developed out of the DARPA Semiconductor UV Optical Sources (SUVOS) program.© (2004) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.