If I am to try and derive a set of 3x3 matrices analogous to the Pauli matrices, how would I go about doing this? I want to find the basis for all complex 3x3 matrices (analagous to the 3 Pauli matrices and the identity matrix for all complex 2x2 matrices) to expand a complicated matrix into so that I can derive a simpler expression. I've only just taken a basic linear algebra class, so I am not an EXPERT in vector spaces. Can anyone help me with this? This is NOT homework for me, just pure theory, so I didn't post it in the homework forum.