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Functionalized cavitands have been shown to self-fold via coordination of Fe(II) salts and effect catalytic C–H oxidation reactions of unfunctionalized alkanes under mild aqueous conditions in the presence of tert-butyl hydroperoxide as co-oxidant. Secondary and tertiary C–H bonds can be converted to ketones and alcohols, respectively, and ethers can be converted to esters. The cavitands retain the catalytic metal throughout the reaction, and can be recovered by filtration.
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