The US Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center (ECBC) is the leader in development of military systems for chemical and biological defense, in collaboration with all Services, other Government laboratories, academia, and industry. Chemical and biological optical sensing principles, unique capabilities, state-of-the-art sensors, and emerging technologies will be discussed. In order to acquire highly quantified data, study the effects of variables such as particle size distribution on backscatter coefficients, perform iterative aerosol algorithm development, and characterize breadboards, a novel "windowless" Vortex Chamber utilizing air curtains was developed and built at ECBC. The chamber has been successfully shown to contain a cloud of known size, concentration, and particle size distribution for 10-15 minutes. Near-term plans are focused on characterization of breadboards for standoff bio discrimination and deducing absolute backscatter coefficients from Vortex Chamber data.