We derive a new asymptotic formula for the Wigner $9j$-symbol, in the limit of one small and eight large angular momenta, using a novel gauge-invariant factorization for the asymptotic solution of a set of coupled wave equations. Our factorization eliminates the geometric phases completely, using gauge-invariant non-canonical coordinates, parallel transports of spinors, and quantum rotation matrices. Our derivation generalizes to higher $3nj$-symbols. We display without proof some new asymptotic formulas for the $12j$-symbol and the $15j$-symbol in the appendices. This work contributes a new asymptotic formula of the Wigner $9j$-symbol to the quantum theory of angular momentum, and serves as an example of a new general method for deriving asymptotic formulas for $3nj$-symbols.Comment: 18 pages, 16 figures. To appear in Phys. Rev.
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