Atmospheric scattering of ultraviolet light is examined as a mechanism for short-range, non-line-of-sight (NLOS) communication between nodes in energy-constrained distributed sensor networks. The physics of scattering is discussed and modeled, and progress in the development of solid state sources and detectors is briefly summarized. The performance of a representative NLOS UV communication system is analyzed by means of a simulation model and compared to conventional RF systems in terms of covertness and transceiver power. A test bed for evaluating NLOS UV communication hardware and modulation schemes is described.© (2000) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.