Two ruthenium-based pre-catalysts containing an ionic tag covalently connected to a N-heterocyclic carbene (NHC) ligand are reported. These novel complexes, bearing a polar benzimidazolium group, are air-stable and can be easily prepared from commercially available reagents. The quaternary benzimidazolium tag allows the efficient separation of ruthenium waste from the metathesis product after reaction. Application in several olefin metathesis transformations leads to desired products of high purity, which exhibit ruthenium contamination levels as low as 1 ppm after simple filtration through a pad of silica gel.
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