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The trace defined as you did in the initial equation in your question is well defined, i.e. independent from the basis when the basis is orthonormal. Otherwise that formula gives rise to a number which depends on the basis (if non-orthonormal) and does not has much interest in physics. If you want to use non-orthonormal bases, you should adopt a different ...


You can compute the trace of an endomorphism using any basis (including non-orthogonal ones). In Dirac notation, you show this by inserting the identity expressed in the new basis and re-arranging: $$\begin{align*} \sum\limits_{|s\rangle \in B} \langle s^*| \rho |s\rangle &= \sum\limits_{|s\rangle \in B} \langle s^*| \left( \sum\limits_{|t\rangle \in ...

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