A new optical diagnostic method has been developed based on the interaction of a pulsed UV laser source with combustion-generated aerosols. This method allows characterization of nanoparticles of organic carbon (NOC) and soot by point measurements. Fluorescence and incandescence measurements induced by the fifth harmonic of a Nd-YAG laser at 213 nm are used for the determination of the volume fractions of particulates in a laminar premixed flame and in a turbulent non-premixed flame of ethylene/air. The selected light source enhances the fluorescence of NOC, which exhibit a large absorption band between 200 and 250 nm and also heats up soot particles to give incandescent emission. Ultraviolet emission signals are correlated with NOC extinction coefficients, while LII signals are correlated with extinction coefficients in the visible region. Laser light scattering measurements are used to estimate the mean sizes of both classes of particles.