Direct epoxidation of aromatic nuclei by cytochrome P450 monooxygenases is one of the major metabolic pathways of arenes in eukaryotes. The resulting arene oxides serve as versatile precursors to phenols, oxepines, or trans-dihydrodiol-based metabolites. Although such compounds have an important biological and chemical relevance, the lack of methods for their production has hampered access to their utility. Herein, we report a general arenophile-based strategy for the dearomative synthesis of arene oxides. The mildness of this method permits access to sensitive monocyclic arene oxides without any noticeable decomposition to phenols. Moreover, this method enables direct conversion of polycyclic arenes and heteroarenes into the corresponding oxepines. Finally, these studies provided direct connection between simple aromatic precursors and complex small organic molecules via arene oxides and oxepines.
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