The transient dynamics of a sub-10 nanometer air-bearing slider (pico glide head) are experimentally investigated using piezoelectric transducer (PZT)signal. Empirical mode decomposition is used to resolve the nonstationary and nonlinear response of the slider under short contacts at high temporal resolution at high frequencies. The results indicate that the empirical mode decomposition can clearly distinguish weak impacts between slider and defects on disk. By using the combination of the power spectrum density of the decomposed signal and Hilbert spectrum, multiple consecutive events during contact are effectively resolved, and the nonstationary and nonlinear spectrum signature of slider contact response are characterized.

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