Enhanced acceleration of protons to high energy by relatively modest high power ultra-short laser pulses, interacting with snow micro-structured targets was recently proposed. A notably increased proton energy was attributed to a combination of several mechanisms such as localized enhancement of the laser field intensity near the tip of
size whisker and increase in the hot electron concentration near the tip. Moreover, the use of mass-limited target prevents undesirable spread of absorbed laser energy out of the interaction zone. With increasing laser intensity a Coulomb explosion of the positively charged whisker will occur. All these mechanisms are functions of the local density profile and strongly depend on the laser pre-pulse structure. To clarify the effect of the pre-pulse on the state of the snow micro-structured target at the time of interaction with the main pulse, we measured the optical damage threshold (ODT) of the snow targets. ODT of
was measured by irradiating snow micro-structured targets with 50 fs duration pulses of Ti:Sapphire laser.