The ICP mass spectrometer will include a sample intro system, where you will add the sample. It also includes an ion source. As noted, the ion source will vary based on what it is you are testing – solid, liquid, or gas. They also include vacuum systems, a reaction cell, high quality ion optics, the spectrometer, and the detector. They are very complex machines, and it takes a specialist to work with them and use them correctly. It’s important to realize there are a number of different types and models of ICP mass spectrometer available. The primary features will be very similar for each of them though.
Once you place the sample in the machine, it creates a magnetic field that deflects the sample. This deflection creates a trajectory, and that will show the mass spectrum of the sample in question. On a technical level, it will identify the chemicals present in the sample by measuring the mass-to-charge ratio of gas phase ions. The method of ionization will differ based on several factors, including the state of the sample. The ionization is different for gases, solids, and liquids.