This repulsive force is more than just an electrostatic repulsion between the electron clouds of the two atoms. It has a quantum mechanial charater rooted in the Pauli exclusion principle, and is often called just the "exclusion principle repulsion".

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The principle that two fermions of a given type, such as electrons, protons, or neutrons, cannot occupy the same quantum state. It does not apply to bosons. This principle plays a key role in the electron orbital structure of atoms, since it prevents more than two electrons from occupying any given orbital (two are allowed, since they may have opposite spin, and thus be in different quantum states).

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