As head-disk spacings in disk drives approach a few nanometers, adhesive forces between the slider and disk can drastically alter the slider flying dynamics. At these small separations, it is still unclear, however, what type of adhesive force dominates. Most previous studies have concentrated on van der Waals and electrostatic attractive forces [1], which are readily incorporated into air bearing simulations. In this talk, we provide experimental evidence that the dominant adhesive force originates from menisci forming around the low flying portions of the slider air-bearing-surface as the spacing transitions from near-contact to contact.

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