Energy dissipation plays an important role in non-contact atomic force microscopy (nc-AFM), atomic manipulation and friction. In this work, we studied atomic scale energy dissipation between a tungsten tip and Si(1 0 0)-(2 x 1) surface. Dissipation measurements are performed with a high sensitivity nc-AFM using sub-Angstrom oscillation amplitudes below resonance. We observed an increase in the dissipation as the tip is approached closer to the surface, followed by an unexpected decrease as we pass the inflection point in the energy-distance curve. This dissipation is most probably due to transformation of the kinetic energy of the tip into phonons and heat. (C) 2003 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.