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Optical telemetry has long been an option for transcutaneous data transfer and has been used in various types of implanted systems. This telemetry modality and the efficiency of these optical links are becoming ever more important as higher bandwidth sources such as cortical recording arrays are being implemented in implanted systems. The design of the transmitter-skin-receiver interface (the ldquooptical interfacerdquo) is paramount to the operation of a transcutaneous optical telemetry link. This interface functions to achieve sufficient receiver signal power for data communication. This paper describes a mathematical analysis and supporting data that quantitatively describes the relationship between the primary interface design parameters. These parameters include the thickness of the skin through which the light is transmitted, the size of the integration area of the optics, the degree of transmitter-receiver misalignment, the efficiency of the optics system, and the emitter power. The particular combination of these parameters chosen for the hardware device will determine the receiver signal power and, therefore, the data quality for the link. This paper demonstrates some of the tradeoffs involved in the selection of these design parameters and provides suggestions for link design. This analysis may also be useful for transcutaneous optical powering systems.