Major improvement into the sensitivity of broadband Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectrometers, used in gas analysis, can be achieved by a photoacoustic detection system, which bases on a recently introduced optical pressure sensor. The sensor is a cantilever-type microphone with interferometric measurement of its free end displacement. By using a preliminary prototype of the photoacoustic gas detector, equipped with the proposed sensor and a black body radiation source, a detection limit in the sub-ppb range was obtained for e.g. methane gas. The limit, obtained in non-resonant operation mode, is very close to the best photoacoustic results achieved with powerfull laser sources and by exploiting the cell resonances. It is also orders of magnitude better than any measurement with a black body radiation source. Furthermore, the ultimate sensitivity leads on to very small detection limits also for several chemical warfare agents (CWA) e.g. sarin, tabun and mustard. The small size of the sensor and its great thermal stability enables the construction of an extremely sensitive
portable CWA analyzer in the near future.