An apparatus for determining particle properties from detected light scattered by the particles. The apparatus uses a light beam with novel intensity characteristics to discriminate between particles that pass through the beam and those that pass through an edge of the beam. The apparatus can also discriminate between light scattered by one particle and light scattered by multiple particles. The particle's size can be determined from the intensity of the light scattered. The particle's velocity can be determined from the elapsed time between various intensities of the light scattered.