Article révisé par les pairs
Résumé : The theory of the superheavy elements is reviewed with the main focus on nuclear structure aspects. The structure of the odd-N superheavy elements is investigated using a variety of self-consistent approaches. Microscopic shell corrections, extracted from Skyrme-Hartree-Fock and relativistic mean-field calculations, elucidate the question of the centre-of-shell-stability in the superheavy region. Finally, the existence of exotic configurations, having gross non-uniformities of nucleonic density, expected to occur in nucleic with very large atomic numbers, is addressed. © 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.