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Thermal fly-height control sliders that are capable of subnanometer level actuation are used to investigate the vertical, down-track, and off-track slider dynamics in slider-disk lubricant contact. Slider-lubricant contact introduces significant excitation in all three directions, and the slider dynamics is dependent on the degree of lubricant-contact. The lubricant surface has a significant role in determining the physical clearance and slider fly-height. While slider-lubricant contact may be successfully achieved by carefully controlling the heater power, improved slider designs and associated heater induced protrusion profiles are necessary to successfully mitigate contact induced vibrations and meet the challenges for future hard disk drives.