Most semiconductor devices are sealed in plastic. Virtually all plastic encapsulated microcircuits (PEMs) look alike. The particular electronic molding compound (EMC) used to encapsulate a device cannot be known except from production records or firsthand knowledge of people familiar with the device. For a variety of reasons, an EMC may need to be explicitly identified. Pyrolysis of the EMC, followed by Fourier Transform Infrared (FT-IR) chemical analysis of the condensates of organic substances evolved by the pyrolysis, and comparison of the spectra with a reference library of known EMCs, provides a rapid means of specific EMC identification.