skip to content

There will be a network outage, Sunday, April 26 from 13:00 EDT - Monday April 27 01:00 EDT. All services, web sites, and systems that require access to the internet will be affected by this work.

XMM-Newton Guest Observer Facility

XMM-Newton EPIC Response and Background File Page

The SOC page


The most recent Canned Response Matricescan be downloaded from the SOC or the GOF.

Please refer to "Update 2010-10-26"). and please carefully read the notes below before retrieving and using the files.

Canned response matrices

General Information

The PN canned response matrices are available for spectra selected from single-pixel events only, doubles only and single+doubles combined, with event threshold 20 adu (100 eV) for most observing modes. This allows one to make use of the additional signal-to-noise improvement with double event patterns. However the user should be warned to compare spectral fitting results with and without the double events, as the effects of pile-up can make the results a little variable.

These files have filenames of the form;

epn_ff20_sY9_<ver>.rmf for singles, where ver is the version number, eg; v6.9
epn_ff20_dY9_<ver>.rmf for doubles, where ver is the version number, eg; v6.9
epn_ff20_sdY9_<ver>.rmf singles plus doubles, where ver is the version number, eg; v6.9

For the PN the responses are provided at intervals of CCD 20 rows, due to changing energy resolution from charge transfer effects. That is, a nomenclature Y0 can be used from rows 1-20, and Y9 from rows 181-200 (i.e. on-axis).
  • Y0 CCD lines 1-20 (i.e farthest from centre)
  • Y1 CCD lines 21-40
  • ...
  • Y9 CCD lines 181-200 (i.e. nearest centre)
The PN response varies with observation mode and different ready-made matrices are available for each mode.
  • ff - fullframe mode
  • ef - extended full frame mode
  • sw - small window mode
  • lw - large window mode
  • ti - timing mode
  • bu - burst mode
The mode is coded into the filename such that epn_sw20_dY9.rmf is a file for small window mode.

Although since SAS 6.5 no ready-made MOS response files are provided (see "Update 2005-12-15"), for the purposes of the feasibility study of XMM-Newton proposals, a limited set of MOS response files have been made available. These files are available for the full frame mode and the current epoch, for:

The files follow the nomenclature:
camera m1 for MOS-1 or m2 for MOS-2
patch onpatch, wings, offpatch
patterns p0 for pattern 0 only or pall for patterns 0 - 12
ver release date
For example;

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

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 4.10.2) 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.

Questions regarding the CCF should be addressed to the XMM-Newton Helpdesk.
Download the Adobe Acrobat (PDF) Reader.

If you have any questions concerning XMM-Newton send e-mail to

This file was last modified on Thursday, 04-Nov-2010 14:32:18 EDT
Curator:Michael Arida (ADNET);

NASA Astrophysics

  • FAQ/Comments/Feedback
  • Education Resources
  • Download Adobe Acrobat
  • A service of the Astrophysics Science Division (ASD) at NASA/ GSFC

    XMM-Newton Project Scientist: Dr. Steve Snowden

    Responsible NASA Official: Phil Newman

    Privacy Policy and Important Notices.