This two part paper presents the experimental observation and numerical simulation of the dynamic response of self-acting gas-lubricated slider bearings used to maintain the sub-micron spacings between the Read/Write transducers and the rotating disks in magnetic recording disk files. In this Part I, a novel laser Doppler interferometric technique is used to measure the transient motions of the R/W head as it encounters an artificially introduced crater-like surface imperfection and a sputtered rectangular step.

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