We describe the design, fabrication, and performance of a class of simple handheld fluorometers. The devices consist of a sensor along with an integrated optical filter packaged in a handheld format. The sensor is a differential active pixel sensor with in-pixel correlated double sampling fabricated in a 0.5-mu m 2-poly 3-metal complementary metal-oxide semiconductor process and has a readout noise of 175.3 muV, reset noise of 360 μV, dynamic range of 59 dB, and conversion gain of 530 nV/e - . The filter is a high rejection chromophore embedded in a polymer film which is cast onto the chip. We show the results of bioassays utilizing two different single color fluorometers constructed by using the chromophores 2-(2'-hydroxy 5'-methylphenyl) benzotriazole and Sudan II with long-pass wavelengths of 400 nm and 540 nm, respectively. The bioassays measures metabolic activity and viability of biological cells, which are useful for cytotoxicity and pathogen detection applications.