We apply a new description of thermal fundamental string probes to the study of finite temperature Wilson loops in the context of the AdS/CFT correspondence. Previously this problem has been considered using extremal probes even though the background is at finite temperature. The new description of fundamental string probes is based on the blackfold approach. As a result of our analysis we find a new term in the potential between static quarks in the symmetric representation which for sufficiently small temperatures is the leading correction to the Coulomb force potential. We also find an order 1/N correction to the onset of the Debye screening of the quarks. These effects arise from including the thermal excitations of the string probe and demanding the probe to be in thermodynamic equilibrium with the Anti-de Sitter black hole background.
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