Geometric Phase Appears in the Ultracold Hydrogen Exchange Reaction

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Quantum reactive scattering calculations for the hydrogen exchange reaction H+H2(v=4,j=0)→H+H2(v′, j′) and its isotopic analogues are reported for ultracold collision energies. Because of the unique properties associated with ultracold collisions, it is shown that the geometric phase effectively controls the reactivity. The rotationally resolved rate coefficients computed with and without the geometric phase are shown to differ by up to 4 orders of magnitude. The effect is also significant in the vibrationally resolved and total rate coefficients. The dynamical origin of the effect is discussed and the large geometric phase effect reported here might be exploited to control the reactivity through the application of external fields or by the selection of a particular nuclear spin state.