[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Particle Swarm Optimization technique offers optimal or suboptimal solution to multidimensional rough objective functions. In this paper, this optimization technique is used for designing fractional order PID controllers that give better performance than their integer order counterparts. Controller synthesis is based on required peak overshoot and rise time specifications. The characteristic equation is minimized to obtain an optimum set of controller parameters. Results show that this design method can effectively tune the parameters of the fractional order controller.