Advanced light management in thin-film solar cells is important in order to improve the photo-current and, thus, to raise up the conversion efficiencies of the solar cells. In this article two types of periodic structures ¡V one-dimensional diffraction gratings and photonic crystals,are analyzed in the direction of showing their potential for improved light trapping in thin-film silicon solar cells. The anti-reflective effects and enhanced scattering at the gratings with the triangular and rectangular features are studied by means of two-dimensional optical simulations. Simulations of the complete microcrystalline solar cell incorporating the gratings at all interfaces are presented. Critical optical issues to be overcome for achieving the performances of the cells with the optimized randomly textured interfaces are pointed out. Reflectance measurements for the designed 12 layer photonic crystal stack consisting of amorphous silicon nitride and amorphous silicon layers are presented and compared with the simulations. High reflectance (up to 99 %) of the stack is measured for a broad wavelength spectrum. By means of optical simulations the potential for using a simple photonic crystal structure as a back reflector in an amorphous silicon solar cell is demonstrated.