This paper describes the synthesis, spectroscopic and structural characterisation, and electrochemical behaviour of some rhodium and iridium complexes of the form LM(X-1)(X-2)(+), where L is a chelating bis(carbene) derived from an imidazolium-linked ortho-cyclophane. The complexes where X-1/X-2 = 1,5-cycooctadiene or norbornadiene were prepared from the imidazolium-linked cyclophane and the appropriate metal source. In these complexes, the M-L bonding was quite robust, but the diene could be displaced by CO to give the dicarbonyl complexes LM(CO)(2)(+), from which one or both carbonyl ligands could be displaced by monodentate or bidentate phosphines, respectively. Structural studies revealed only minor variations in the cyclophane unit upon exchange of the ancillary ligands, in each case the rhodium complex being isomorphous with its iridium analogue. In cyclovoltammetric studies of LRh(dppe)(+), reversible Rh(I/II) and Rh(II/III) redox couples were observed. The other rhodium complexes displayed more complex electrochemical behaviours and did not undergo simple reversible redox reactions. (c) 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.