The role of modern analytical chemistry is not restricted to quality control and environmental surveillance, but has been extended to process control using on-line analytical techniques. Besides industrial applications, highly specific, ultra-sensitive biochemical analysis becomes increasingly important as a diagnostic tool, both in central clinical laboratories and in the doctor's office. Fiber optic sensor technology can fulfill many of the requirements for both types of applications. As an example, the experimental arrangement of a fiber optic sensor for biochemical affinity assays is presented. The evanescent electromagnetic field, associated with a light ray guided in an optical fiber, is used for the excitation of luminescence labels attached to the biomolecules in solution to be analyzed. Due to the small penetration depth of the evanescent field into the medium, the generation of luminescence is restricted to the close proximity of the fiber, where, e.g., the luminescent analyte molecules combine with their affinity partners, which are immobilized on the fiber. Both cw- and pulsed light excitation can be used in evanescent wave sensor technology, enabling the on-line observation of an affinity assay on a macroscopic time scale (seconds and minutes), as well as on a microscopic, molecular time scale (nanoseconds or microseconds).