A method and apparatus for remote, stand-off, and high efficiency spectroscopic detection of biological and chemical substances. The apparatus including an optical beam transmitter which transmits a beam having an axis of transmission to a target, the beam comprising at least a laser emission. An optical detector having an optical detection path to the target is provided for gathering optical information. The optical detection path has an axis of optical detection. A beam alignment device fixes the transmitter proximal to the detector and directs the beam to the target along the optical detection path such that the axis of transmission is within the optical detection path. Optical information gathered by the optical detector is analyzed by an analyzer which is operatively connected to the detector.