We present results from the first 2 + 1 and 3 + 1 simulations of the collapse of rotating stellar iron cores in general relativity employing a finite-temperature equation of state and an approximate treatment of deleptonization during collapse. We compare full 3 + 1 and conformally-flat spacetime evolution methods and find that the conformally-flat treatment is sufficiently accurate for the core-collapse supernova problem. We focus on the gravitational wave (GW) emission from rotating collapse, core bounce and early postbounce phases. Our results indicate that the GW signature of these phases is much more generic than previously estimated. In addition, we track the growth of a nonaxisymmetric instability of dominant m = 1 character in two of our models that leads to prolonged narrow-band GW emission at ~920–930 Hz over several tens of milliseconds.
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