# Are buckminsterfullerene-corannulene complexes actually stabilised by π stacking?

According to wikipedia and the references given therein, $\pi\cdots\pi$ stacking interactions are the result of interaction between the quadrupole moments of two aromatic rings, rationalising the stabilisation of perpendicular and offset-parallel association modes of the benzene dimer.

Conventional wisdom is that the supramolecular complexes of buckminsterfullerene and functionalised corannulenes (the so-called buckycatchers) are stabilised by $\pi\cdots\pi$ stacking. How can the quadrupole interaction explanation be reconciled with the pseudo-spherical symmetry of buckminsterfullerene? Surely the interaction must be entirely Van der Waals in nature?

• This sounds reasonable, and I didn't appreciate the lack of superaromaticity in $\mathrm{C}_{60}$. Your suggestion is similar (but with crucial differences) to that of a researcher (focused on graphite intercalates) I got the chance to speak with, who speculated that the dihedral symmetry elements of the $I_{h}$ symmetry may permit a molecular quadrupole. I won't accept the answer just yet to give others a chance to chime in. May 1, 2012 at 3:17