The effect of lubricant on flyability and read-write performance in ultra-low flying regime has been studied over the disks with lubricant on one half of disk surface thicker than the other half. The dynamics of a slider was monitored using Acoustic Emission (AE) and Laser Doppler Vibrometer (LDV). An instability characteristic of a slider flying over the thick lubricant region has been observed and this instability intensifies as flying height decreases and the step thickness increases. After the slider flies over the disks, it has been found that lubricant re-distribution occurs as lubricant is “carried” by the flying slider from the thick lubricant region and deposited onto the thin lubricant region. Possible mechanisms were discussed to explain the observations. Finally, recording tests were performed and the magnetic spacing loss due to the lubricant steps was estimated.

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