Over the last few years scanning optical microscopy (SOM) has been largely developed as a tool to explore the physical properties of materials. In particular the optical beam induced current (OBIC) mode of the SOM has been used to map the electronic properties of semiconducting devices. A new type of scanning microscopy method, as well as some results obtained by it, will be reported in this paper. Though similar, to a certain extent, to the standard scanning optical microscopy, this new investigation technique, from now on refered to as infrared beam induced contrast (IRBIC), differs from it in substance. The chopped light from a quartz halogen lamp is focused by a conventional microscope rearranged on the specimen surface, and a pin-hole is positioned so as to reduce the probe size (not the resolving power) to 1.5um. The resulting beam power density is of the order of 1mW*cm-2. Such a low power density presents some disadvantages in comparison with the traditional laser sources, but, on the other hand, it allows a very high sensitivity in the investigation of the defect electrical activity. With this experimental set-up the specimen front surface is probed with band-gap radiation. Its back surface is illuminated by continuous light in the infrared, coming through a monochromator from a glow-bar. The radiation wavelength can be selected continuously so as the photon energy ranges over the whole valence-to-conduction energy gap. When the specimen is probed, the photoinduced carriers are separated by the built-in field due to the depletion zone of a p-n junction or a Schottky barrier, and the photocurrent is amplified by the lock-in technique. The application of a back-surface radiation of less than the band-gap energy modifies, in some way, the photoconductive response to the band-gap probe since the secondary illumination changes the occupancy of the traps in the forbidden gap active in the photoconductive process. This phenomenon, known as "quenching" of extrinsic photoconductivity, when applied to scanning optical microscopy allows localized investigations on energy levels. As a matter of fact, the beam induced contrast at a defect depends on the secondary illumination wavelength, that is on the trap level excited, as we observed in defective Si.