The application of laser photoacoustics to two different areas is discussed. First, laser-induced spallation and interferometric detection of transient surface displacements is proposed as a powerful noncontact tool for the investigation of adhesion properties of solid surface coatings. Results for nickel and plasma-sprayed ceramic coatings are presented. Delamination processes at the interface between substrate and coating could be detected with excellent spatial and temporal resolution and adhesion strengths in the 0.2 to 2 GPa range be determined. Second, laser photoacoustic spectroscopy is applied to trace gas monitoring. An automated mobile CO2 laser photoacoustic system is employed for in situ air monitoring with parts per billion sensitivity in industrial, urban, and rural environments. An improvement in detection selectivity for multicomponent gas mixtures is achieved with a continuously tunable highpressure CO2 laser with a narrow linewidth of 0.017 cm-1. A CO laser photoacoustic system previously used for the analysis of motor vehicle exhausts is now employed for studying dimerization phenomena in fatty acid vapors. Finally, emphasis is put on the development of widely tunable, narrow-band, mid-IR laser sources based on optical parametric oscillation or difference frequency generation employing tunable diode lasers and AgGaSe2 as nonlinear material.