Infrared spectroscopy is routinely employed for the identification of organic molecules and, more recently, for the classification of biological materials. We have developed a sample collection method that facilitates infrared analysis of airborne particulates using a diffuse reflectance (DR) technique. Efforts are underway to extend the method to include simultaneous analysis of vapor phase organics by using adsorbent substrates compatible with the DR technique. This series of laboratory results provides proof-of-principle for both the sample collection and data collection processes. Signal processing of the DR spectra is shown to provide rapid qualitative identification of representative aerosol materials, including particulate matter commonly found in the environment. We compare the results for such materials as bacterial spores, pollens and molds, clays and dusts, smoke and soot. Background correction analysis is shown to be useful for differentiation and identification of these constituents. Issues relating to complex mixtures of environmental samples under highly variable conditions are considered. Instrumentation development and materials research are now underway with the aim of constructing a compact sampling system for near real-time monitoring of aerosol and organic pollutants. A miniature, tilt-compensated Fourier transform spectrometer will provide spectroscopic interrogation. A series of advanced digital signal processing methods are also under development to enhance the sensor package. The approach will be useful for industrial applications, chemical and biological agent detection, and environmental monitoring for chemical vapors, hazardous air pollutants, and allergens.