A new fluorescence cell has been developed for the laser induced fluorescence (LIF) detection of formaldehyde. The cell is used to sample a flow of air that contains trace concentrations of formaldehyde. The cell provides a hermetically sealed volume in which a flow of air containing formaldehyde can be illuminated by a laser. The cell includes the optics for transmitting the laser beam that is used to excite the formaldehyde and for collecting the resulting fluorescence. The novelty of the cell is its small size and simple design that provides a more robust and cheaper alternative to the state of the art. Despite its simplicity, the cell provides the same sensitivity to detection as larger, more complicated cells.