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The interaction between the thermal fly height control (TFC) slider and disk is investigated by reader signal with laser Doppler vibrometer and acoustic emission signals used as a reference. When magnetic transition is written on the disk, the first air bearing peak of the reader signal is increased. With increase of the driving voltage to the heater, a frequency shift and harmonics are observed. The lubricant ripples caused by the thermal protrusion induced contact were observed, and the ripples follow the frequency shift with increase of the driving voltage. When the driving voltage to the heater is increased to a state such that higher order harmonics are observed in the frequency spectra, the lubricant is unable to fully recover.