A system for detecting trace concentrations of an analyte in air includes a preconcentrator for the analyte and an analyte detector. The preconcentrator includes an elongated tubular container comprising a wettable material. The wettable material is continuously wetted with an analyte-sorbing liquid which flows from one part of the container to a lower end. Sampled air flows through the container in contact with the wetted material with a swirling motion which results in efficient transfer of analyte vapors or aerosol particles to the sorbing liquid and preconcentration of traces of analyte in the liquid. The preconcentrated traces of analyte may be either detected within the container or removed therefrom for injection into a separate detection means or for subsequent analysis.
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