Optical techniques for the classification and identification of biological particles provide a number of advantages over traditional 'Wet Chemistry’ methods, amongst which are speed of response and the reduction/elimination of consumables. These techniques can be employed in both 'Trigger’ and 'Identifier’ systems. Trigger systems monitor environmental particulates with the aim of detecting 'unusual’ changes in the overall environmental composition and providing an indication of threat. At the present time there is no single optical measurement that can distinguish between benign and hostile events. Therefore, in order to distinguish between these 2 classifications, a number of different measurements must be effected and a decision made on the basis of the 'integrated’ data. Smiths Detection have developed a data gathering platform capable of measuring multiple optical, physical and electrical parameters of individual airborne biological particles. The data from all these measurements are combined in a hazard classification algorithm based on Bayesian Inference techniques. Identifier systems give a greater level of information and confidence than triggers, -- although they require reagents and are therefore much more expensive to operate -- and typically take upwards of 20 minutes to respond. Ideally, in a continuous flow mode, identifier systems would respond in real-time, and identify a range of pathogens specifically and simultaneously. The results of recent development work -- carried out by Smiths Detection and its collaborators -- to develop an optical device that meets most of these requirements, and has the stretch potential to meet all of the requirements in a 3-5 year time frame will be presented. This technology enables continuous stand-alone operation for both civil and military defense applications and significant miniaturisation can be achieved with further development.