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An optimization of the internal light source (ILS) technique for optical characterization of planar photonic crystals (PPhCs) is presented. The approach makes use of a double planar waveguide structure that separates the region where the light emitting layers are embedded from the region where the PPhCs are fabricated. This technique is demonstrated to be free from reabsorption losses, thus combining the advantages of standard optical techniques with the versatility of the ILS setup. We validate this method by comparison with standard ILS measurements on several PPhC structures.