The effect of low energy noble gas ion bombardment on the electrical and optical properties of Si(211) surfaces has been investigated by surface conductivity and field effect measurements, ellipsometry and AES. With this combination of techniques, information is obtained concerning the electrical properties, the chemical composition and the damage of the surface layer. Upon ion bombardment in the energy range of 500–2000 eV, ellipsometry shows the formation of a damaged surface layer with optical properties close to those of an evaporated amorphous silicon film. In order to measure the conductivity changes as sensitive as possible, nearly intrinsic silicon crystals were used. For the clean, 5200 Ω cm Si(211) surface, bombarded only with a mass-analyzed argon ion beam, a small increase in conductivity is found to occur after a small ion dose (saturation after 5 × 1014 ions cm−2 while after 5 × 1013 ions cm−2 already half of the increase has occurred). The effect was found to be independent of ion energy between 500 and 2000 eV. As the field effect signal did not change after this treatment, it is concluded that the surface state density in the neighbourhood of the Fermi level shows a slight decrease.