We propose a method to design antireflection structures to minimize the reflection of light beams at the interfaces between a two-dimensional photonic crystal and a homogeneous dielectric. The design parameters of the optimal structure to give zero reflection can be obtained from the one-dimensional antireflection coating theory and the finite-difference time-domain simulations. We examine the performance of a Mach-Zehnder interferometer utilizing the self-collimated beams in two-dimensional photonic crystals with and without the optimal antireflection structure introduced. It is shown that the optimal antireflection structure significantly improves the performance of the device. (c) 2008 Optical Society of America.