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A molecular concentrator comprising a thermal ratchet for driving molecules from one place to another. A plurality of linear, two-dimensional, and/or three-dimensional arrangements of heater structures are arranged on or suspended above a substrate. Each of the heater structures is configured to strongly sorb a vapor of interest when the heater structure is at room temperature and to rapidly desorb the vapor when the heater structure is at an elevated temperature. The vapor sorption of the individual heater structures is made selective by surface treatments, by monomolecular film depositions or by thicker absorbent polymer depositions. By selectively heating and cooling the heater structures, vapor molecules incident on the heater structures can be directed in a desired manner, e.g., from heater structures closest to a vapor-containing environment to a sensor.