Multiple DNA and protein biomarkers have been detected based on characteristic x-ray fluorescence of a panel of metal and alloy nanoparticles, which are modified with ligands of biomarkers to create a one-to-one correspondence and immobilized on ligand-modified substrates after forming complexes with target biomarkers in three-strand or sandwich configuration. By determining the presence and concentration of nanoparticles using x-ray fluorescence, the nature and amount of biomarkers can be detected with limits of 1 nM for DNA and 1 ng/ml for protein. By combining high penetrating ability of x-rays, this method allows quantitative imaging of multiple biomarkers.

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