Over the last two decades, the possibility to use lasers for detection purposes in column liquid chromatography (LC) and capillary electrophoresis (CE) received much attention in the analytical chemistry literature. Most attention has been devoted to laser-induced fluorescence. The present review covers developments on non-fluorescence techniques for LC and CE. The techniques considered are thermal lens spectrometry, photoacoustic detection, refractive index detection including refractive index backscattering, Raman spectroscopy and degenerate four-wave mixing (a special mode of transient holographic spectroscopy). The paper starts with an outline of the characteristics of lasers; it ends with an overall evaluation and a discussion of the perspectives of the techniques dealt with. © 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.