A chemical preconcentrator is disclosed with applications to chemical sensing and analysis. The preconcentrator can be formed by depositing a resistive heating element (e.g. platinum) over a membrane (e.g. silicon nitride) suspended above a substrate. A coating of a sorptive material (e.g. a microporous hydrophobic sol-gel coating or a polymer coating) is formed on the suspended membrane proximate to the heating element to selective sorb one or more chemical species of interest over a time period, thereby concentrating the chemical species in the sorptive material. Upon heating the sorptive material with the resistive heating element, the sorbed chemical species are released for detection and analysis in a relatively high concentration and over a relatively short time period. The sorptive material can be made to selectively sorb particular chemical species of interest while not substantially sorbing other chemical species not of interest. The present invention has applications for use in forming high-sensitivity, rapid-response miniaturized chemical analysis systems (e.g. a "chem lab on a chip").