This paper presents the optimization of a micro gas preconcentrator based on a micro-channel in porous and non-porous silicon filled with an adequate adsorbent. This micro gas preconcentrator is both applicable in the fields of atmospheric pollution monitoring (Volatil organic compounds VOCs) and explosives detection (nitroaromatic compounds). Different designs of micro-devices and adsorbent materials have been investigated since these two parameters are of importance in the performances of the micro-device. The optimization of the device and its operation were driven by its future application in outdoor environments. Parameters such as the preconcentration factor, cycle time and the influence of the humidity were considered along the optimization process. As a result of this study, a preconcentrator with a total cycle time of 10 min and the use of single wall carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) as adsorbent exhibits a good preconcentration factor for VOCs with a limited influence of the humidity. The benefits of using porous silicon to modify the gas desorption kinetics are also investigated. 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.