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A quartz crystal shear resonator was modified by gluing a thin piece of mica on one surface to obtain an acoustic sensor with a macroscopic atomically smooth area. Contact mechanics experiments with this resonator touching a half-spherical mica surface were performed at high shear rate by integrating it into a surface forces apparatus, which provides simultaneous load control and interferometric measurement of the real contact area and surface separation. The procedures for gluing mica on a quartz resonator without significant loss of its sensitivity and gluing a half-spherical mica surface are described in detail. Sensitivity issues and overtone order dependence are discussed. Although our work focuses on contact mechanics experiments, the technique is also relevant for quartz crystal microbalance applications. © 2003 American Institute of Physics.