An improved photodetection system for high resolution laser-Rayleigh scattering measurements has been developed that utilizes a solid state detector coupled to a custom-designed, low--noise, transimpedance amplifier. The resulting system, based on a PIN photodiode is less expensive, inherently safer, less delicate and, depending on the detected light level, may exhibit higher signal-to-noise ratios than photodetection systems based on photomultiplier tubes. The frequency response of the system was designed to be uniform (30% peak variation) from DC to nearly 100 kHz. Concen-tration fluctuation spectra of a high scattering cross-section label (jet fluid) gas discharging into a density-matched, low scattering cross--section quiescent reservoir gas were measured using this system. Spectral signal-to-noise ratios as high as 7 decades were achieved under some conditions in parts of the spectrum.