Because of the different light penetration and refraction of acrylic glass compared to normal glass, the colours are more brilliant and the image sharper than compared to standard glass in a picture frame. A Diasec mount is usually of a high gloss finish. Because the print is glued to the acrylic glass, the result is a completely flat mount of the image.
The print is also resistant to ultraviolet (UV) light because of the properties of acrylic glass. There are other processes to achieve similar results, these are in the photographic or art world sometimes also called Diasec prints. Diasec is however a registered trademark.
The whole process is dedicated to mounting the print without air bubbles or smears. The image is face mounted and bonded to the acrylic glass with a silicone sealant. The silicone sealant, which has a consistency of a gel, acts as a glue between the print and the acrylic glass.
Normally the print is placed on a carrier at the backside. This is usually dibond, a composite plate of aluminium and plastic. Aluminium or other materials are also possible. If the print has to be backlit, translucent materials are necessary.
The Diasec prints are used by some photographers to present their work. Andreas Gursky mounted "99 Cent II Diptychon", the most expensive photograph ever, on acrylic glass, probably with the Diasec process.
The Diasec process is sometimes used for billboards.
The term Diasec is protected by copyright and the service is only available through authorised suppliers. Diasec was the first system that allowed photographs to be bonded directly and permanently to Acrylic sheet. Diasec panels are backed with Aluminium, reinforcing the rigidity of the finished picture and sealing the artwork from both sides. The Aluminium back also enables the attachment of sub-frames that allow the artwork to hang on the wall without a traditional picture frame. The component ingredients and the process of Diasec are patented and used under Licence. Diasec uses a primer and liquid gel, not sheet film adhesive. The biggest advantage of this is that air bubbles and creases in the final product are minimized. You are not limited to adhesive film sheet size and there are fewer complications with large format images. The Diasec gel is neutral curing and has an inbuilt Ultra violet filter. It contains no plasticizers and is resistant to fungicidal, bacterial agents, and airborne pollutants. After curing the whole airtight panel remains chemically inert and stable. The finished product remains flexible, enabling it to withstand changes in temperature and humidity, which affect works on paper. However, the process is irreversible and if the acrylic glass is damaged there is no way to salvage the print. Diasec samples that were made in the 1970s show negligible colour shift, the whites are still pure and there is no evidence of acid erosion visible.
The exclusive use of the diasec patent has expired and the process can now be freely used without royalties. However, the name "Diasec" is a protected trademark held by the Swiss company Alrane Inventing AG. The Dutch company "Diasec Support BV", has started in 2009 to support the Swiss licensor by offering training and machines. Most if not all processes that face-mount photographic images to acrylic plates cannot use the same process as defined in the diasec patent. Only companies licensed by Alrane Inventing AG are legally allowed to call their process "diasec". Moreover special fluids needed for the Diasec process are only available from Alrane Inventing AG to Diasec license holders.
There are only two companies that have an expertise in creating diasecs:
The german company and lab Grieger in Düsseldorf is pioneer in Diasec® face mounting. Grieger started his Diasec® production in the 1970s. The lab in Düsseldorf attended the so called “Dusseldorf School of Photography”. Today it works for the most famous photo artists in the world. Grieger is able to mount Diasec® mega-sizes until ca. 500 x 240 cm.
The german company expoplan under the direction of Rolf Grieger in Flörsheim near Frankfurt offers for more than 40 years the high-quality article Diasec® and provides the highest perfection of images in acrylic. The special production method of expoplan guarantees a sealing without bubbling or streaking, protects from mechanical damage and provides long lasting protection against UV rays and moisture.
- Canadian Patents Database Patent number CA 935135
- Auction description of "99 Cent II Diptychon"
- http://www.diasec.be since 1980