We use a Thermoreflectance Thermal Imaging technique to study the transient cooling of SiGe-based microrefrigerators. Thermal imaging with submicron spatial resolution, 0.1C temperature resolution and 100 nanosecond temporal resolution is achieved. Transient temperature profiles of SiGe-based superlattice microrefrigerator devices of different sizes are obtained. The dynamic behavior of these microrefrigerators, show an interplay between Peltier and Joule effects. On the top surface of the device, Peltier cooling appears first with a time constant of about 10-30 microseconds, then Joule heating in the device starts taking over with a
time constant of about 100-150 microseconds. The experimental results agree very well with the theoretical predictions based on Thermal Quadrupoles Method. The difference in the two time constants can be explained considering the thermal resistance and capacitance of the thin film. In addition this shows that the Joule heating at the top metal/semiconductor interface does not dominate the microrefrigerator performance or else we would have obtained the same time constants for the Peltier and Joule effects. Experimental results show that under high current values, pulse-operation the microrefrigerator device can provide cooling for about 30 microseconds, even though steady state measurements show heating. Temperature distribution on the metal leads connected to the microrefrigerator’s cold junction show the interplay between Joule heating in the metal as well as heat conduction to the substrate. Modeling is used to study the effect of different physical and geometrical parameters of the device on its transient cooling. 3D geometry of heat and current flow in the device plays an important role. One of the goals is to maximize cooling over the shortest time scales.