A single component continuous wave (CW) heterodyne laser Doppler anemometer (LDA) was constructed based on solid state technology for use in fluid dynamic research. The system design was motivated by the need for a miniature system capable of withstanding harsh operating environments. Such environments are often unavoidable when measuring high temperature combustion flows and when performing measurements in the field. With the recent advancements in solid state laser diodes and solid state avalanche photo diodes (APD), it is possible to construct miniature laser Doppler anemometers employing only solid state technology. Such systems have the advantages of small size, light weight, low power consumption, low cost, and ruggedness. The subject of the current research was to evaluate a visible laser diode's abilities and limitations in such a miniaturized LDA system. A basic one dimensional LDA was designed, constructed and thoroughly tested employing a 10 milliwatt visible (670 nm) laser diode. The problems specifically associated with the use of a laser diode as a source are discussed, and their solutions presented. Data for the LDA evaluation measurements in a free jet facility is presented, and the results are compared to measurements obtained by hot-wire and five-hole probes. The miniature solid state LDA system was found to possess accuracies of 2% for mean velocities and accuracies of 5 - 20% for RMS turbulent velocities. Overall, the miniature LDA system with the solid state laser diode was found to be capable of accurate fluid dynamic measurements, and it appears to hold promise in enabling LDA measurements in before impractical situations.