We have developed a single-shot mega-electronvolt ultrafast-electron-diffraction system to measure the structural dynamics of warm dense matter. The electron probe in this system is featured by a kinetic energy of 3.2 MeV and a total charge of 20 fC, with the FWHM pulse duration and spot size at sample of 350 fs and 120 μm respectively. We demonstrate its unique capability by visualizing the atomic structural changes of warm dense gold formed from a laser-excited 35-nm freestanding single-crystal gold foil. The temporal evolution of the Bragg peak intensity and of the liquid signal during solid-liquid phase transition are quantitatively determined. This experimental capability opens up an exciting opportunity to unravel the atomic dynamics of structural phase transitions in warm dense matter regime.

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