Two different fiber optic sensors were developed for the determination of hydrogen sulfide at ppb concentration levels; a probe-type fiber optic sensor coated with polyethylene oxide containing 0.5 M CdCl2 and a fiber optic sensor utilizing 0.5 M CdCl2-pretreated filter paper as solid substrate. In the first type, CdCl2-polyethyleneoxide (PEO) mixture was coated onto the tip of a fiber optic probe and the probe was exposed to H2S. The methodology is based on the measurement of CdS fluorescence on the surface. Detection limit (3s) of the PEG-coated fiber optic system was 36.0 ppb for H2S and precision at the 0.552 ppm level was 29% R.S.D. For the fiber optic system utilizing CdCl2-pretreated filter paper, two different configurations were devised and evaluated; a bifurcated fiber optic sensor and a single fiber optic sensor. Similar figures were obtained with these two systems; the detection limit (3s) was 4.0 ppb for the bifurcated fiber optic sensor and 4.3 ppb for the single fiber optic sensor, and both sensors had linear responses in the range 0.032-1.0 ppm. Their precisions at 0.299 ppm level were also very similar, 10 and 11% R.S.D., respectively, for the bifurcated and single fiber systems. In addition to the tiber optic sensors developed, various surfactants (sodiumdodecylsulfate (SDS), Aerosol OT, Aerosol A102, Aerosol 501), some cellulosic substances (sodium carboxymethylcellulose (CMC), ethylcellulose, hydroxypropylmethylcellulose! ethylhydroxyethylcellulose, cc-cellulose) and several water-soluble polymers (polyacrylicacid polyethleneoxide (PEO), polyvinylalcohol (PVA)) were dissolved in proper solvents and after mixing with 0.5 M CdCl2, were spread over glass slides. These novel solid substrates were exposed to H2S and fluorescence signal on the surfaces of the glass slides was measured with a luminescence spectrometer. The new substrates were shown to be good alternatives to filter paper for the determination of H2S by room temperature solid surface fluorescence spectrometry. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.