Ammonia (NH<sub>3</sub>) is the most abundant alkalescency trace gas in the atmosphere having a foul odor, which is produced by both natural and anthropogenic sources. Chinese Emission Standard for Odor Pollutants has listed NH3 as one of the eight malodorous pollutants since 1993, specifying the emission concentration less than 1 mg/m<sup>3</sup> (1.44ppmv). NH<sub>3</sub> detection continuously from ppb to ppm levels is significant for protection of environmental atmosphere and safety of industrial and agricultural production. Tunable laser absorption spectroscopy (TLAS) is an increasingly important optical method for trace gas detection. TLAS do not require pretreatment and accumulation of the concentration of the analyzed sample, unlike, for example, more conventional methods such as mass spectrometry or gas chromatography. In addition, TLAS can provide high precision remote sensing capabilities, high sensitivities and fast response. Hollow waveguide (HWG) has recently emerged as a novel concept serving as an efficient optical waveguide and as a highly miniaturized gas cell. Among the main advantages of HWG gas cell compared with conventional multi-pass gas cells is the considerably decreased sample which facilitates gas exchanging. An ammonia sensor based on TLAS using a 5m HWG as the gas cell is report here. A 9.56μm, continuous-wave, distributed feed-back (DFB), room temperature quantum cascade laser (QCL), is employed as the optical source. The interference-free NH<sub>3</sub> absorption line located at 1046.4cm<sup>-1</sup> (λ~9556.6nm) is selected for detection by analyzing absorption spectrum from 1045-1047 cm<sup>-1</sup> within the ν<sub>2</sub> fundamental absorption band of ammonia. Direct absorption spectroscopy (DAS) technique is utilized and the measured spectral line is fitted by a simulation model by HITRAN database to obtain the NH3 concentration. The sensor performance is tested with standard gas and the result shows a 1σ minimum detectable concentration of ammonia is about 200 ppb with 1 sec time resolution. Benefitting from the use of QCL and HWG, the sensor is simple and compact. Moreover, the concentration inversion algorithm is simple and suitable for embedding into the microprocessor to form a more compact and miniaturized system. The absolute measurement based on DAS without calibration can reduce the influence of light variation on measurement which may attribute to the instability of electrocircuit, optical path and laser source. Therefore, the sensor based on HWG gas cell is very well suited for sensitive and real-time monitoring ammonia in the atmosphere. Furthermore, this sensor provides the capabilities for improved the in-situ gas-phase NH<sub>3</sub> sensing relevant for emission source characterization and exhaled breath measurements.