Analysis of EPIC data products is generally performed by specialised software packages including Xspec, Ximage  or Xronos (http://heasarc.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/xanadu/xanadu.html). In addition to the calibrated products, some of these packages require the generation of specific files. In particular, the spectral fitting technique used by Xspec requires a characterization of the EPIC detector response to simulate an output spectrum observed by EPIC. The response function gives the probability that an incoming photon of energy E will be detected in a channel I. This discrete function can be calculated as a product of a Redistribution Matrix File (RMF) by an Auxiliary Response File (ARF). These response files shield the user from the complexity of the EPIC instrument response which varies across the field of view.
There are currently two approaches to obtain RMF redistribution matrix files:
They are virtually identical to the files produced by the SAS task rmfgen.
Special care must be taken in choosing the appropriate canned RMFs as they depend on the readout mode, the pattern selection, the observation date and the position of the source.
rmfgen spectrumset=<spectrum_file> rmfset=<rmf_file> detxbins=160 detybins=160
The ARF response file of the EPIC camera shall then be generated by the task arfgen. This task calculates an effective area curve as a function of energy, to be used in conjunction with the RMF file generated before. For each row of the RMF there is a corresponding element in the 1-D ARF. This is normally adjusted by specifying the previously generated response matrix as an input file to the arfgen task.
The arfgen task generates an ARF file taking into account the following effects:
The above effects generally depend on the source position in the EPIC field of view. Spatial response variation over an extended source is also taken into account (see § 4.9.4).
As of SAS v12, a full 2-D parameterisation of the PSF as a function of camera, energy and off-axis angle covering the whole field of view is available as the default mode. A full description of the PSF modelling is available at . The 2-D PSF parameters are included in the ELLBETA extension of the PSF CCFs. ELLBETA supersedes all previous PSF models used so far. Users can still access the parametrization of old models through calview, which reads the corresponding extensions of the PSF CCF constituent, or by selecting the appropriate value in the input parameters of those tasks (e.g., arfgen through its input parameter psfmodel), which make use of the PSF.