As the flying height decreases to achieve greater areal density in hard disk drives, different proximity forces act on the air bearing slider, which results in fly height modulation and instability. Identifying and characterizing these forces has become important for achieving a stable fly height at proximity. One way to study these forces is by examining the fly height hysteresis, which is a result of many constituent phenomena. The difference in the touchdown and takeoff rpm (hysteresis) was monitored for different slider designs, varying the humidity and lubricant thickness of the disks, and the sliders were monitored for lubricant pickup while the disks were examined for lubricant depletion and modulation. Correlation was established between the observed hysteresis and different possible constituent phenomena. One such phenomenon was identified as the Intermolecular Force from the correlation between the lubricant thickness and the touchdown velocity. Simulations using 3D dynamic simulation software explain the experimental trends.

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