The defense community in Maryland is an R&D powerhouse.
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A device having an air sampler, an electrospray apparatus, and a fluorescence excitation and detection system. The air sampler is capable of moving air suspected of containing a biological or chemical aerosol particle into a chamber. The electrospray apparatus is capable of spraying a charged solution into the chamber to coat the aerosol particles with a coating. The solution has a fluorescent-labeled biological or chemical marker capable of specific binding to the aerosol particle. The fluorescence system is capable of detecting fluorescence of the fluorescent label in the coating. A method of detecting the aerosol particle by: moving air suspected of containing the aerosol particle into a chamber; spraying the charged solution into the chamber with an electrospray apparatus, such that a coating of the solution is formed around the particle; exciting the fluorescent label; and detecting fluorescence of the fluorescent label.