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The $SU(2)$ unitary matrix $U$ employed in hadronic low-energy processes has
both exponential and analytic representations, related by $U = \exp\left[ i \mathbf{\tau} \cdot \hat{\mathbf{\pi}} \theta\,\right] = \cos\theta I + i \mathbf{\tau} \cdot \hat{\mathbf{\pi}} \sin\theta$. One extends this result to
the $SU(3)$ unitary matrix by deriving an analytic expression which, for
Gell-Mann matrices $\mathbf{\lambda}$, reads $U= \exp\left[ i \mathbf{v} \cdot \mathbf{\lambda} \right] = \left[ \left( F + \tfrac{2}{3} G \right) I + \left( H \hat{\mathbf{v}} + \tfrac{1}{\sqrt{3}} G \hat{\mathbf{b}} \right) \cdot \mathbf{\lambda} \, \right] + i \left[ \left( Y + \tfrac{2}{3} Z \right) I + \left( X \hat{\mathbf{v}} + \tfrac{1}{\sqrt{3}} Z \hat{\mathbf{b}} \right) \cdot \mathbf{\lambda} \right]$, with $v_i=[\,v_1, \cdots v_8\,]$, $b_i = d_{ijk} \, v_j \, v_k$, and factors $F, \cdots Z$ written in terms of
elementary functions depending on $v=|\mathbf{v}|$ and $\eta = 2\, d_{ijk} \, \hat{v}_i \, \hat{v}_j \, \hat{v}_k /3$. This result does not depend on the
particular meaning attached to the variable $\mathbf{v}$ and the analytic
expression is used to calculate explicitly the associated left and right forms.
When $\mathbf{v}$ represents pseudoscalar meson fields, the classical limit
corresponds to $\langle 0|\eta|0\rangle \rightarrow \eta \rightarrow 0$ and
yields the cyclic structure $U = \left\{ \left[ \tfrac{1}{3} \left( 1 + 2 \cos v \right) I + \tfrac{1}{\sqrt{3}} \left( -1 + \cos v \right) \hat{\mathbf{b}}\cdot \mathbf{\lambda} \right] + i \left( \sin v \right) \hat{\mathbf{v}}\cdot \mathbf{\lambda} \right\}$, which gives rise to a tilted
circumference with radius $\sqrt{2/3}$ in the space defined by $I$,
$\hat{\mathbf{b}}\cdot \mathbf{\lambda}$, and $\hat{\mathbf{v}}\cdot \mathbf{\lambda}$. The axial transformations of the analytic matrix are also
evaluated explicitly.

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