The beam spreading and evolution behavior of the intensity profile and coherent vortices of partially coherent, four-petal elliptic Gaussian vortex beams propagating in atmospheric turbulence are studied. The analytical expressions for cross-spectral density function, as well as root mean square (rms) beam width, are derived based on the extended Huygens–Fresnel principle. Results showed that, unlike the partially coherent four-petal Gaussian vortex beams, the partially coherent four-petal elliptic Gaussian vortex beam could change its petal number into six. The dependencies of occurrence, appearance, and transition speed from four- to six-petal profile on the topological charge, the beam order, and the ellipticity factor are illustrated. The far field behaviors of partially coherent four-petal elliptic Gaussian vortex beams propagating in atmospheric turbulence and are compared in free space. Beams with larger topological charge, smaller beam order, and larger ellipticity factor were found to be less influenced by atmospheric turbulence. Further, the ellipticity factor can be used as an additional degree of freedom in controlling the conservation distance of coherence vortices’ topological charge.
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