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Paper IPM / P / 6923  


Abstract:  
The force experienced by objects embedded in a correlated medium undergoing thermal fluctuationsthe socalled fluctuationinduced forceis actually itself a fluctuating quantity. We compute the corresponding probability distribution and show that it is a Gaussian centered on the wellknown Casimir force, with a nonuniversal standard deviation that can be typically as large as the mean force itself. The relevance of these results to the experimental measurement of fluctuationinduced forces is discussed, as well as the influence of the finite temporal resolution of the measuring apparatus.
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