External differential reflection measurements were carried out on clean Si(100) and (110) surfaces in the photon energy range of 1.0 to 3.0 eV at 300 and 80 K. The results for Si(100) at 300 K showed two peaks in the joint density of states curve, which sharpened at 80 K. One peak at 3.0 ± 0.2 eV can be attributed to optical transitions from a filled surface states band near the top of the valence band to empty bulk conduction band levels. The other peak at 1.60 ± 0.05 eV may be attributed to transitions to an empty surface states band in the energy gap. This result favours the asymmetric dimer model for the Si(100) surface. For the (110) surface at 300 K only one peak was found at 3.0 ± 0.2 eV. At 80 K the peak height diminished by a factor of two. Oxygen adsorption in the submonolayer region on the clean Si(100) surface appeared to proceed in a similar way as on the Si(111) 7 × 7 surface. For the Si(110) surface the kinetics of the adsorption process at 80 K deviated clearly. The binding state of oxygen on this surface at 80 K appeared to be different from that on the same surface at 300 K.