Vortex Transmutation

Using group theory arguments and numerical simulations, we demonstrate the possibility of changing the vorticity or topological charge of an individual vortex by means of the action of a system possessing a discrete rotational symmetry of finite order. We establish on theoretical grounds a ??transmutation pass rule?? determining the conditions for this phenomenon to occur and numerically analyze it in the context of two-dimensional optical lattices. An analogous approach is applicable to the problems of Bose-Einstein condensates in periodic potentials.