XMM-Newton EPIC Response Files

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The most recent Canned Response Matrices can be downloaded here (please refer to Update 2017-03-22) and can be used to estimate EPIC count rates in AO17. Please carefully read the notes below before retrieving and using the files.

Canned response matrices

General Information


PN response files

The PN response varies with operating mode, for each of which a set of ready-made matrices is available.

Different matrices are available for spectra selected from single-pixel events only, doubles only and singles+doubles combined (except for Timing mode, where only the last is applicable). This allows the user to opt for increased spectral accuracy by using single pixel events only, or signal-to-noise improvement by including double event patterns. Users should however be warned to compare spectral fitting results with and without the inclusion of double events, as results may vary due to the effects of pile-up.

Additionally, as of SAS 14.0, PN canned response matrices have been created for 3 different epochs (Update 2014-11-24).

Furthermore, the response matrices are provided at spatial intervals of 20 physical pixel rows, owing to the changing energy resolution due to charge transfer effects. The response file chosen should be that closest to the corresponding location of the extracted spectrum.

The file names of the PN canned response matrices follow the nomenclature:

camera epn
epoch e1 to e3
mode where mode can be ff, ef, sw, lw, ti and bu
adu indicates the standard mode-dependent event threshold
pattern where patterns can be s (singles only), d (doubles only), sd (singles+doubles)
rows CCD physical row interval
ver version number, eg; v14.0 (aligned with SAS version)

The three epochs cover the time periods:

e1: 2000-02-01 - 2007-01-01
e2: 2007-01-01 - 2014-01-01
e3: 2014-01-01 - present

The respective modes are:

  • ff - fullframe mode
  • ef - extended full frame mode
  • sw - small window mode
  • lw - large window mode
  • ti - timing mode
  • bu - burst mode

The respective row segments are indicated as follows:

  • Y0 CCD lines 1-20 (i.e farthest from the detector centre)
  • Y1 CCD lines 21-40
  • ...
  • Y9 CCD lines 181-200 (i.e. nearest to the centre; for CCD 4 this corresponds to the on-axis location)

For example, epn_e1_sw20_dY9.rmf is a file corresponding to epoch 1 (e1), for small window mode (sw20) and considering only double events (d) from CCD lines 181-200 (Y9).

MOS response files

Since SAS 6.5 the full set of ready-made MOS response files is not provided (see "Update 2005-12-15"). However, for the purpose of the feasibility study of XMM-Newton proposals, a limited set of MOS response files are still available. Additionally, since SAS 13.5, two sets of files are produced for spectra generated at 5eV and 15eV energy resolution (see update 2014-01-31). Each energy resolution set has been generated for:


The new EPIC-MOS files follow the nomenclature:

camera m1 for MOS-1 or m2 for MOS-2
epoch e1 to e14
mode im for imaging mode or tu for timing mode
patterns p0 for pattern 0 only or pall for patterns 0 - 12
position c for centre of patch, w for wings of patch and o for off patch

For example:


The fourteen epochs cover the time periods:

  e1: 2000-02-01 - 2001-01-01
  e2: 2001-01-01 - 2001-10-01
  e3: 2001-10-01 - 2002-01-01
  e4: 2002-01-01 - 2002-10-01
  e5: 2002-10-01 - 2003-01-01
  e6: 2003-01-01 - 2004-10-01
  e7: 2004-10-01 - 2005-10-01
  e8: 2005-10-01 - 2006-10-01
  e9: 2006-10-01 - 2007-10-01
e10: 2007-10-01 - 2008-10-01
e11: 2008-10-01 - 2009-10-01
e12: 2009-10-01 - 2010-10-01
e13: 2010-10-01 - 2011-10-01
e14: 2011-10-01 - present

MOS response files for 5eV and 15eV can be found under different sub-directories in the ftp repository.

Note: MOS response files before SAS 6.5 had a different nomenclature as the one listed above (see "Update 2005-12-15").
Note: MOS response files before SAS 11.0 had a different nomenclature as the one listed above (see "Update 2011-04-12").

Pipeline Produced Matrices

The source spectra produced by the pipeline refer to a set of canned matrices (please refer to "Update 2006-02-16"). These matrices are the latest available at the time of the pipeline processing, and may be used for performing spectral analysis with the following caveat:

  • MOS spectra of sources which are within 1 arcminute of the boresight of the MOS cameras (normally the target of the observation) experience a redistribution which is highly dependent upon the exact position of the source and the size of the extraction region. An accurate analysis of such sources should use a redistribution matrix produced by the task rmfgen. Using a canned matrix in this case may introduce large errors below 1 keV (please refer to "Update 2005-12-15").


Information on the performed updates of the EPIC canned response files is available here.

How to use canned responses and/or arfgen and rmfgen

Details on how to perform a standard spectral analysis of EPIC data is available from the SAS User's Guide (Section 4.8) and from the EPIC SAS Threads. Details about the status of the EPIC Calibration can be found in the EPIC Status of Calibration and Data Analysis Document.