A systematic structure analysis of the correlation functions of statistical quantum optics is carried out. From a suitably defined auxiliary two ��point function we are able to identify the excited modes in the wave field. The relative simplicity of the higher order correlation functions emerge as a byproduct and the conditions under which these are made pure are derived. These results depend in a crucial manner on the notion of coherence indices and of unimodular coherence indices. A new class of approximate expressions for the density operator of a statistical wave field is worked out based on discrete characteristic sets. These are even more economical than the diagonal coherent state representations. An appreciation of the subtleties of quantum theory obtains. Certain implications for the physics of light beams are cited.
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