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Alpha stands for polarizability and r stands for distance. So, intermolecular forces depend on the strength of an atom to distort electrons as well as how far the two atoms/molecules are away from each other.
It is also good to know that polarizability (alpha) depends on the number of electrons and the size of the atom/molecule. So the greater the size and the number of electrons the molecule has, the greater polarizability it has. These electrons in the atom or molecule is what causes the electron distortions in nearby atom or molecule.
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