A new detection system has been developed for real-time analysis of organic compounds in ambient air. It is based on multiphoton ionization by an unfocused laser beam in a single parallel-plate device. Thus, the ionization volume can be relatively large. The amount of laser created ions is determined quantitatively from the induced total voltage drop between the biased plates (Q = ΔV·C). Mass information is obtained from computer analysis of the time-dependent signal. When a KrF laser (5 ev) is used, most of the organic compounds can be ionized in a two-photon process, but none of the standard components of atmospheric air are ionized by this process. Therefore, this instrument may be developed as a `sniffer' for organic materials. The method has been applied for benzene analysis in air. The detection limit is about 10 ppb. With a simple preconcentration technique the detection limit can be decreased to the sub-ppb range. Simple binary mixtures are also resolved.