Measurement of particle concentration by laser Doppler anemometry (LDA) is studied on a vertical air jet seeded by a powder disperser with controlled particle and air flow rates. Particle arrival rate is utilized to retrieve particle number densities from conventional LDA operation. The effect of polydisperse nature of the particles is assessed. Comparisons between measured and estimated particle number densities suggest that only a certain portion of the particle population with a particle size to fringe spacing ratio around unity can be detected. Results indicate that reliable measurement of absolute particle concentration is possible for a particle population of narrow size distribution with an average diameter equivalent to fringe spacing. Present number density measurement technique which is useful for practical purposes with conventional LDA systems is found to yield physically reasonable profiles in both laminar and turbulent regimes. (c) 2006 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.