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In the next decade the scientific community expects a strong impact in physics, chemistry, biology, material research and life sciences by the availability of high-brilliance X-ray radiation from free-electron laser (FEL) sources. In particular, in the field of ultrafast science these new sources will allow new types of experiments, enabling new phenomena to be discovered. Whereas today ultrafast X-ray diffraction experiments are strongly restricted by the limited X-ray flux of current sources of sub-picosecond X-ray pulses, FELs will provide short pulses of typically 1012 photons with a duration of the order of 100 fs and monochromaticity of 10-3. Here, the feasibility of time-resolved single-shot powder diffraction experiments using these intense pulses, and the requirements of these experiments, are discussed. The detector count rates are estimated for diffraction from a model compound in a wide q-regime under the special consideration of high resolving power. In the case of LCLS radiation parameters, single-shot experiments will be feasible although high-resolution powder diffraction will require a reduction of the intrinsic FEL radiation bandwidth.

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